a forcibly intimate theatre

— REVIEW of ‘Everybody Loses…’ | Melbourne Critique

Everybody Loses Review

With the title of this work having had audience wondering if they’d be in for some kind of ‘battle royale’, there was an eerie energy afoot when Tobias Manderson-Galvin (as Margaret Schmidt) arrived to escort them to an undisclosed location. The guests enjoyed wine on the house, while Margaret talked about the terrible fire in the kitchen and ran cold water over their burnt hand.

Doppelgangster have delivered a very curious experience. Dr. Schmidt steps up to the mic like a dictator and doesn’t move for the duration except for quick eyes and expansive arms. A screen with great obscure visuals and title cards help to keep track of the barrage of language. Everything (including a minimal yet wacky score by Melbourne’s Maria Moles and Adam Halliwell) is timed perfectly thanks to the use of an earpiece – technology that allows long monologues that maintain spontaneity without the drag of memorisation.

Everybody Loses took place on a back verandah; LEDs combined with the house’s own lights created a pleasingly symmetrical box for this solo performance by Dr. Tom Payne (as Dr. Karl Patterson Schmidt). Being seated on the lawn with blankets reminded one of childhood skits but also, somehow, of future forms for a more volatile and fearful time – a forcibly intimate theatre.

The writing is adapted from the doctor’s own ‘death diary’ and embellished by Manderson-Galvin and Payne with flair, humour and urgency. Here a scientist is dying from a snake bite but refuses hospital as it would ‘upset the symptoms’… While governments are content to measure and discuss our changing climate, we all slowly roast to death…

In the Jungian dawn-state the snake eats its own tail… death and taxes… black star.

“A forcibly intimate theatre”