The Smile Off Your Face

An exercise in trust, an alternative sensory experience and the most personal and intimately erotic journey you are likely to ever take.
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Ontroerend Goed’s The Smile Off Your Face is a theatrical experience you will hardly see, an exercise in trust, an alternative sensory experience and the most personal and intimately erotic journey you are likely to ever take.

When one thinks of European theatre, you could be forgiven for thinking this is going to be a volatile and confronting experience – especially in light of the title – but, if anything, the smile will remain with you long after you leave, but it will stay with these performers, eternally.

From the moment you enter the ante-room – witnessing the emergence of a previous visitor, in a wheelchair, with hands tied – you know this is not your usual theatrical experience.

You are asked, quietly, to sit in the wheelchair, you are blindfolded, your hands are tied and you are off – on a journey into the unknown and, indeed, the unseen.

As you enter the performance space – which has been previously hidden by a curtain and remains hidden – you are bombarded by voices, noises, smells and the touch of various objects.

You hear a voice in the distance discussing a love of animals, laughter floats through the space, and water is gently sprinkled on your hands. You feel yourself being taken over what feels like a great distance – whirling and spinning in the chair, before your first tactile experience.

There will be dancing, a soft breath on your cheeks as you slowly move in the arms of a stranger, unseen. An unspoken invitation to feel the contours of a stranger’s face, as they feel yours. You will be taken from, and returned to, the chair by a variety of strangers – including an intimate chat, on a bed, with a softly-spoken woman.

Early in the experience you will be aware of your photograph being taken – and this photo will appear, close to the end of your experience, in the greatest moment of revelation since the climax of The Usual Suspects.

It would be possible to reveal too much about this piece, affecting your individual experience by telling you what to expect – this is a truly unique experience, individual in every way.

The only advice I can give those who have the opportunity to take this incredible journey is: trust your guides, let yourself feel whatever you feel to the utmost – joy, laughter, fear, sadness, arousal of the human spirit – and be in the moment, for all too soon, it’s over.

The Smile Off Your Face first arrived in Adelaide in 2008, as part of the Adelaide Fringe, in the Balfours’ Cake Factory Theatre. It was a sell-out, then, as it is now. The only advantage you have, this time, is they have two other shows – but be quick, only A Game of You has tickets left to buy. Let’s hope they come back, again, soon.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ontroerend Goed in association with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd present

The Smile Off Your Face
Joeri Smet, Sophie De Somere, Karolien De Bleser, Aurélie Lannoy, Kristof Coenen, Tahki Saul and Cameron Goodall

STCSA Rehearsal Room 1 – Adelaide Festival Centre

28 February – 4 March


Adelaide Festival 2013

1 – 17 March


Glen Christie
About the Author
Glen Christie is a graduate of the University of Tasmania and recipient of the Country Club Casino Theatrical Development Award and Adelaide Critics Circle Award Winner. He trained as a secondary Drama teacher and Arts Manager, has worked for the Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival Centre, is a founding member of Acorn Productions (SA), and a veteran of the South Australian amateur theatre scene.