Melbourne Fringe Festival Review: The Sky Is Well Designed (Performances until September 28th)

Melbourne Fringe Festival is an opportunity for theatre lovers and theatre novices to open their minds up to the many creative minds this great country of ours has. Presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and Fabricated RoomsThe Sky Is Well Designed is a two-person, 60-minute exploration into the soundscape of our atmosphere, and how certain tests can assess sound levels, or not. Well at least that’s what I understood.

While this work is very reminiscent of the absurdist play Waiting For Godot, it seems to lack an overall point. Or at least it was not clearly made. The two characters, Bear and Thomas, are two scientists who meet for the first time on an expedition to the desert. Their performances and character portrayals are considered and well executed, and the awkwardness between them is incredibly uncomfortable. As an audience member it feels like intrusive spectating, especially considering the bizarre conversation topics such as, “What would you do if a baby landed at your door step?” While the existential chatter is natural in its delivery, it just feels weird.

As far as sound production and the use of technology in the show goes – it is very inventive and clever. I did expect a little more composition to the sonic soundscape but technically, it is unlike anything I’ve seen performed live on stage before. It’s like science live on stage. There are various sound devices used to conduct various experiments, and while it feels like you’re in an incubator, your ears will ring at the sound of each vibration and static wave. The crunch of the wood chips was probably my favourite texture of the musical score as it was crisp and contextual, and the constant wash of white noise that fills the space ties in nicely with the overall atmospheric vibe and entrancing performance.

The Sky Is Well Designed is playing at the Northcote Town Hall until September 28th. For tickets and more info, head here.

The reviewer attended the show on Saturday September 16th.

Images by Greta Costello.