What is ‘greatness’?
Well in the arts world it is completely subjective, however the most memorable shows often evoke strong emotional or intellectual emotions from an audience. In that respect, The Last Great Hunt has done it again, and once again I state my belief that this little company, comprised of six theatre-makers, is hands down better at everything they do than our State Theatre Company – as they make thought-provoking works that are often bonkers, but by jove they are memorable.
The artists within The Last Great Hunt are not afraid to cross lines, test boundaries and push the limits. They seem unfazed by money and popularity, as they are chasing the purity of art: and if the rest follows then hoorah, and if this one doesn’t hit – maybe the next one will.
Now, I didn’t love this show as much as I have loved other pieces of their work, but I love what it stands for and what it says and what it questions, and I guarantee that anyone who sees it will remember it for a very long time.
D*ck Pics in the Garden of Eden will make you laugh, grimace, think and put you on the verge of crying, often all at the same time. The protagonists are the most historical characters possible, but the issues are unfalteringly relevant.
D*ck Pics wanders immediately into Andy Warhol’s eccentric film oeuvre. Warhol’s work had appeal because the subject matter was so familiar, and some critics thought his films were a hot mess while others raved about them. He also used a lot of wigs in ingenious ways, as does this. I have never thought about using them as shoulder pads before, but now I can think of little else!
Some concepts are better as concepts than they are as art, and D*ck Pics could definitely be tweaked and teched within an inch of its life to bring it up to better scratch, but the naivety and rawness of this production is a main part of the charm. The costumes are clunky and the billowing screens are at times distracting, but the acting and writing could not be stronger and these shine very bright.
I’m aware that I have skirted around the main themes and stories, but the production explores exactly what it says on the tin – only deeper. It probes areas that are both highly talked about, and those that should be scrutinised but are vastly ignored. It is not escapism by any means, as the work shines a direct light on the relationship you have with yourself and your body and your partner/s and their bodies and how and why we all do what we do.
What I will say, is don’t take your eyes off of either Arielle Gray’s (Eve/Lilith) or Chris Isaacs’ (Dick Dickson) faces. They communicate volumes with their eyes and expressions and never put an acting foot wrong. Ben Sutton absolutely shines as Adam and the company as a whole does remarkable things with, and no pun intended, the hardest of subjects.
Writer and Director, Jeffrey Jay Fowler has written and acted in multiple award-winning shows, but this is his crowning glory thus far. D*ck Pics deals with issues that he has not only researched, but lived through. Knowing this makes the decision to place cameras on stage and film faces in extreme close up an even better one, as it is a wonderfully brutal way to pass on Fowler’s clear messages and thoughts.
Approach this like you would a Warhol film. Some will find it mad, others will be enraptured.
One thing you can be sure of is that it is art, and there is precious little true art (especially in local theatre) nowadays. The Last Great Hunt and all the creators involved should be applauded for producing truely experimental, thought provoking work. Work that will be remembered.
D*ck Pics in the Garden of Eden
Presented by The Last Great Hunt
Subiaco Arts Centre, WA
Director and Writer: Jeffrey Jay Fowler
Creative Associate: Michele Gould
Production Dramaturg: Adriane Daff
Set and Costume Designer: Maeli Cherel
Set and Costume Assistant: Nikita Bernardo
Composer: Rachel Claudio
Lighting Designer: Rhiannon Peterson
AV Designer: Tim Watts
Stage Manager: Sophia Morgan
Assistant Stage Manager: Georgia Sealey
Sound Designer: Conor Brown
Cast: Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Jo Morris, Tyrone Earl Lrae Robinson, Ben Sutton, Joanna Tu, David Vikman, Iya Ware,
D*ck Pics in the Garden of Eden will be staged until 3 December 2022.