Review: Party Ghost @ Metro Arts (Brisbane)

'Party Ghost'
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Smart, hilarious and jaw-dropping, the award-winning ‘Party Ghost’ showed at Metro Arts as part of this year’s Brisbane Festival.

Directed by Nicci Wilks, ‘Party Ghost’ is physical comedy at its most inventive, astonishing, and articulate. This tongue-in-cheek, high camp celebration of the grotesque and gothic opens with what resembles a children’s Halloween party. Figures clad in white sheets, beneath which frilly white ankle socks can be seen, chase around the stage, and up and down the aisles, in a childish attempt to scare each other and make the audience laugh.

The production is built upon the premise of a pair of twins celebrating their death day, and taking audiences on a journey post-death via dark slapstick, clowning, drag and high-level circus spectacle are incredible circus artists Jarred Dewey and Olivia Porter.

Dismembered limbs and disturbing shenanigans wherein Dewey and Porter perform like possessed ragdolls and child poltergeists, make ‘Party Ghost’ not for the faint of heart. However, as promised, the show is twice as funny as it is messed up, and there is barely a breath between riotous laughter from the audience throughout.

The show weaves between comic violence, with the twins bashing each other’s heads against a table, kicking, and attempting to ‘kill’ each other; spooky child’s play, with games like pass the parcel and creepy clowning, and moments of bewitching circus like Dewey’s trapeze scene, wherein the performer twists and contorts seemingly effortlessly, and a remarkable duet of choreographed acrobatics.

The backdrop to this delightfully macabre production is a vivid soundtrack which encompasses the shower scene in 'Psycho', the saccharine tinkling of children’s wind-up music boxes and old recorded 1950s dialogue.

A brilliant, refreshing and hilarious show, ‘Party Ghost’ is sure to be a Brisbane Festival highlight.

Words: Christine Rossouw

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