utterly engaging and fascinating

— REVIEW of ‘Being Dead (Don Quixote)’ | Weekend Notes

Being Dead (Don Quixote) | Review

Emma Caldwell | Weekend Notes
8 March, 2018

Unconventional work is exactly what we’ve come to expect from MKA, this time pairing up with bAKEHOUSE Theatre and Unofficial Kerith Fan Club to present Kerith Manderson-Galvin’s signature work, Being Dead (Don Quixote).

In this 60-minute, one-woman performance, the artist is a bundle of nerves, constantly apologetic, telling us that things went smoothly last night but tonight they’re not working. She tells us she is sorry, constantly, and in this stream of consciousness performance it’s never really clear where the pre-show ends and the show begins. Likewise, the post-show.

Manderson-Galvin cuts a figure like a timid bird in a nude bra and undies with flesh coloured stockings and a sparkly head cap. We watch the artist flit around the stage, constantly derailing their own thoughts.

It is entirely un-theatrical, and that is exactly the point. Manderson-Galvin’s nervy, hapless artist is so messy and broken that she is utterly engaging and fascinating. The preamble (which is actually part of the show) is so manic, self-deprecating and anxious that I find myself giggling along, unsure if this is part of the act.

There are moments of true beauty in this bizarre show. An over-hazed dance with a pink hat has the artist find her strength (if only for a moment) and an entrancing dance performed by Manderson-Galvin entirely covered by a pink dress feels almost therapeutic.

The interactions with operator and brother Tobias Manderson-Galvin are delightful, too, as at times he wanders onstage decked out in a matching short and shirt combination to try and help the artist make it through the show unscathed.

This work is certainly not for all tastes. It’s challenging and hard going at times and it is absolutely uncomfortable for both audience and artist. But that’s kind of the fun of it, too. Together, with Manderson-Galvin, we muddle through and we come out the other side with a lot to talk about.

“utterly engaging and fascinating”