How do you categorise Josh Belperio? Is he a classical composer, a cabaret performer, a playwright?
He is all of these things so, for brevity, it is perhaps easier to simply call him a storyteller, and a damn fine one too.
Josh has been telling stories all his life; stories to his family, stories to his beloved nonna, and most often stories to himself. He has been such a meticulous chronicler of his lived experience that his autobiographical musings, his notes, ranging from to-do lists and gratitude exercises to family newsletters, sheet music and tortured journal entries about his sexuality, plaster almost every inch of a fourteen-meter wall in the performance area of nthspace Gallery.
Every note upon the wall, every note Josh ever wrote, was an attempt to make sense of a life that Hollywood couldn’t script, to find order in the chaos. In '30,000 Notes', Josh stunningly and systematically conveys the conclusions of his search for meaning, through monologue, a virtual choir and string quartet directed by Josh under the mentorship of Carl Crossin OAM and recorded by sound engineer Neville Clark, and precision lighting and home movie projections by Lighting Designer Mark Oakley.
This synthesis of art forms, imagined by Josh’s partner, Director Matthew Briggs from Under the Microscope Theatre Company, is a daring departure for an artist more accustomed to sitting behind a piano or conducting a choir. As with his debut solo work, ‘Scarred For Life’, though, Josh’s enthusiasm, charisma and eccentricity, when coupled with the world-class compositions and visual effects, ensured audience engagement and immersion for the full 90 minutes.
'30,000 Notes' is a show which, like Josh, defies arbitrary categorisation, and in doing so, asks us, what are the consequences of remaining within externally imposed boundaries and what are the costs of breaking free?
'30,000 Notes' plays nthspace Gallery at nthspace Adelaide until 16 March.