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Theatre Review by Lisa Romeo
What: Here Comes Everybody
Where: Metanoia Theatre Mechanics Institute
When: 5 June – 15 June
Writer: Performer: John Paul Hussey
Director: Dramaturgy: Peta Hanrahan
Lighting Design: Shane Grant
Sound Design: Ben Grant
Set & Costume Design: John Paul Hussey
Metanoia Theatre presents Here Comes Everybody, an unconventional multi-narrative comedy performed solely by Melbourne based artist John Paul Hussey. Staged in the historical Mechanics Institute building in Brunswick, the Metanoia Artistic Team ensures a programme of multiplicity in art form - the theatre is relevant, daring and engaging - and Here Comes Everybody is one such piece of work.
Here Comes Everybody is true to its title; everybody came!! Hussey brings to the audience a multitude of characters, and with them he re-enacts many of his own experiences, playing out all scenes and incidences on a solo level through interconnecting narratives. Due to extensive travels in his childhood he has been exposed to many foreign cultures and people and he puts forth many of these worldly, vast experiences, adapting the accents convincingly, as well as speaking multiple languages.
Watching Here Comes Everybody, I felt like I was lost in a crowd, racing through masses of people and trying to understand what everyone is thinking; who they are and where they all came from. Hussey’s characters are endless - Darryn the official drug dealer for the Australian Olympic Team, Con the Economic Prophet of Doom, Terry the cockney martial arts instructor, Indian and Lebanese ticket inspectors, Father Christmas, Porn stars, Steve Erwin and Bindy - right through to randy dogs, vicious Shetland ponies and even horny elves.
Hussey’s performance is abstract, poetic, highly intelligent and downright bizarre and always totally engaging, keeping his audience wanting more. We are merged into his world, made up of many players in his game of life. Most of his characters are borne out of the Australian and urban social landscape.
For example “Darryn is the product of what’s been happening over the last ten years in Australia, he is about our addiction to shopping, as well as the birth of the cashed up, tanned, peroxide male boganaire,” says Hussey.
The entire performance is full of dramatics and humour, the stage is set on a large black and white checked board floor, maybe representing the yin and yang that is referred to in one of Hussey’s sketches, along with plastic blown up pool toys in every corner and stuffed animals - the design is as surreal as the performer. The lighting design works well to complement the many character changes, theatrically shutting down to pitch black and turning back on to find Hussey in a new persona.
The soundtrack throughout, ‘Whitesnakes - Here I Go Again on My Own,’ just added to the chaos and confusion, along with the many facets of Hussey’s multiple personalities. There are many complex messages to his life analogies, such as women are about solidarity, men are about hierarchy.
Here Comes Everybody is a mix of surreal, elevated comedy and genuinely emotional drama; much of which are autobiographical stories based on real life situations. Hussey’s performance is poignant, clever, diverse and highly energetic. He is truly an artistic genius and it is very evident that Hussey and Director Peta Hanrahan work very well as a team in bringing to Melbourne Hussey’s long awaited seventh solo performance.
5 Stars
John Paul Hussey is best known as the writer and performer of a critically acclaimed and award-winning trilogy of one man shows; this is his seventh. He is also an award winning director of performance art installations and a critically acclaimed performance artist. He has received two Green Room nominations for Chocolate Monkey; Best Show and Best Male Actor and awarded Best Show of the Year by ABC Radio National.