Peepshow Inc are know for works that challenge and provoke whilst also entertaining and enchanting audiences with both the beautiful and the grotesque. Those of you who saw their puppet opera Slanting into the Void (2006) will understand what I mean; those of you who didn't should catch their current show The Mysteries of the Convent part of this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Like so many historic buildings, The Abbotsford Convent, a place that Peepshow Inc now calls home, oozes mystery and provokes questions about its past. The building itself is solid and tangible, but one can't help wishing that its stones could talk and let us hear some of the many stories of the people who lived within its walls. And this is what The Mysteries of the Convent succeeds in doing. Using puppetry and physical theatre, combined with lighting and sound, Peepshow Inc successfully fills the labyrinthine spaces of the convent with people and emotions, creating an engaging piece of living social history which can be enjoyed by everyone.
Assembling in the Bishop's Parlor – scary memories of a catholic convent girlhood surfaced from the start - the audience is taken on a tour of the building and along the way encounters some of the past inhabitants. The tour guide maybe inept – she's a last minute fill in – but the ghosts of the past ensure that the audience is given a real feeling for some of the people who once lived within the convent walls – orphans, 'fallen' women and nuns.
There is whimsy and comedy, darkness and loss, music and laughter, eerie surprises and even a quiz. And there is historical fact. The Mysteries of the Convent is an effective site specific work that both entertains and informs in a way that no formal tour or written work can do; it brings the cold stone building alive with feelings and emotions from the past and in the present.
Peepshow Inc Presents
The Mysteries Of The Convent
Where: Convent Building, Abbotsford Convent // 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
Dates: Sept 25 - 28 and Oct 1-5
Times: Wed-Sat 6:30 & 8:30pm Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: Full Price $30.00 // Concession Price $25.00
Booking: www.melbournefringe.com.au , 9660 9666
More information: www.peepshowinc.com