In The FurnaceImage by Andrew Morrish

A man runs onto the stage, wearing a fluoro yellow vinyl jacket, grey stubbie shorts and white sneakers. He jogs in a figure-8 around the stage before coming to a stop. This is Andrew Morrish, a performer full of random gestures, unlikely contradictions and bizarre impulses.

In the Furnace is the title of two solo works, performed on consecutive evenings at Performance Space. I saw the first, Letting Off Steam, though according to the programme notes the second, Burstin’ a Boiler, has similar origins. I take this with a pinch of salt, however, as these are “evenings of extended improvisation.” Improvisation is key to Morrish’s performance style, as he riffs on words, meditates on moments and sporadically leaps around the stage.

Morrish’s performance aesthetic is a kind of postmodern, physical stand-up comedy. He shifts from touching the “heritage wall” with his “heritage hands” to ranting about the Australia Council... or, should I say, about “Julia Roberts,” to allude to his metaphor comparing the funding body with the celebrity. He is a master storyteller, weaving non-linear tales with incredible dexterity and textural complexity. One moment sees him outlining his special “unfundable” moves, playing with gesture and movement as he travels around the space.

In The Furnace is, simply, hilarious. Morrish is an assured performer whose skill in storytelling is highlighted by his talented catalogue of movement phrases. He runs with the moment, gets lost in a thought, and openly refers to the programme notes. One movement spontaneously leads to another, which leads to a line of text or a guttural sound. Gestures are openly referenced to other artists, organisations, or even his own work. One pose transforms into a movement of the leg, which becomes a soccer move. And who knew the anthropological link between soccer and Greek dancing?

The Performance Space presents
Andrew Morrish

Venue: CarriageWorks | 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
Letting Off Steam: Friday May 25
Bursting A Boiler: Saturday May 26
Time: 8pm
Tickets: $20 / $15 + BF

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