Walter Walloon Beckett is a rabbit who is trying to convince himself that he’s “Not like Beckett”. On the intertextual side of this, if you have ever studied theatre, it becomes very clear that this is exactly like Beckett. Walter Walloon does not want to be like Beckett – his all singing, all dancing, sex crazed, Bilby abusing alter ego – but he is, in fact, like Beckett. The Beckett. Follow?
Even the set – a large red dirt encrusted desert mountain – is reminiscent of the set of Happy Days, a Beckett play where another individual is caught on a mountain. Wally Walloon, you see, is trapped on this mountain and we are witness to his last day. There are also references (and in these plays, references change depending on the viewer) to Lewis Carroll’s white rabbit; watching time slip away from him, and to Waiting for Godot.
Not Like Beckett also draws a very clear line to our own colonial roots. The white rabbits came to this land and found the Bilby’s, who happen to be brown, eventually wiping them out of existence. Or at least that’s the rumour that Walter Walloon was told as a baby rabbit.
This one man show (or one rabbit show) was played out by Perth’s well loved funny man Sam Longley. Having a 6’7” tall actor play a fluffy bunny in a suit and bowler hat is absurd in itself, not to mention Longley’s jump (no pun intended) from character to character and to and from Walter Walloon and his alter ego Beckett. If you are not accustomed to matters of the slightly academic and mostly nonsensical avant guard style then Not Like Beckett may not be for you. Sam Longley looked – of course – exhausted by the end of Not Like Beckett and by taking on a one man show has achieved something which many actors do not have the control to do. However if Walter Walloon had been a bit more of a dirty, old, bitter rabbit then the absurdity of himself, Beckett, his situation in life with his Bilby de-facto and all the toilet humour may have been more effective.
Not Like Beckett is the ultimate tragicomedy for you if you love to sit around after a show and chat about what you’ve seen – and you’ll want to. Not Like Beckett delves into all sorts of philosophies and ‘isms’ that require further discussion. It’s not a play you can walk away from and not provoke chatter. Deckchair Theatre provides very well for this with cabaret style seating and the option of food and drink.
Go see Not Like Beckett even if it’s not for you. The chatter that bubbles up afterwards is a refreshing change from thoughtless brain-dead happies that most plays conjure. Well done Deckchair – anyone who can make me sit and ponder gets a gold star, and you always manage to do so.
Deckchair Theatre presents
Not Like Beckett
by Michael Watts
Venue: Victoria Hall, 179 High Street, Fremantle WA
Previews: 26, 27 July 2007
Season: 28 July – 12 August (Tues – Sat, 8pm / Sun, 5pm)
Tickets: $32, $27 Conc / 4+, $22/ 10+ dct members, $15 Student Rush
Bookings: BOCS 9484 1133 or online at www.bocsticketing.com.au