Lucky | IPAN and The Spare RoomLucky is a beautiful, intricate, evocative piece of theatre that walks the fine line between education and preaching. It is Go Back Where You Came From meets ballet, an artistic exploration of people-smuggling, refugees, and dreams for a better life. While highly stylised, it feels emotionally very real. Living as we are in an Australia where people smuggling is a hot button issue, this is an important piece of theatre with something to say to everyone in the audience.

Lucky is the story of two brothers – realistic older brother (Guy Simon), who is prepared to sacrifice anything for his idealistic younger brother (Hoa X). They pay the sinister people smuggler they know only as the Man (Drew Wilson) to take them away in hopes of finding their brother Lucky. The show details, through lovingly crafted and wonderfully choreographed physical theatre, their journey over the sea.

The standout performer is Simon as the older brother, who is one of the most excellent physical performers I have ever seen. He is the emotional heart of the show, and his portrayal of the willingness to protect his brother at all costs (including his own life) is heartbreaking. His physical scenes with Drew Wilson as the Man are equally spellbinding. Wilson is probably a bit too young and pretty to have the real menace that the Man requires, but he does a great job with not only the physical scenes but some very difficult dialogue (the Man and the brothers do not speak the same language; therefore, the Man speaks only in broken English).

The real star turns, however, come from offstage – collaborative movement director Kirk Page and director and set designer Sama Ky Balson. Physical theatre is definitely not my preferred genre, but I found the choreographed sequences in Lucky far more evocative than the scenes with heavy dialogue. While it felt a little too balletic in places, at odds with the emotional realism of the piece, the scene where the boat goes through a storm and the final confrontation between the older brother and the Man were absolutely phenomenal. The aerial sequences have to be seen to be believed – it was brilliant choreography complemented by an outstanding set. I’ve often found that the stage at the New Theatre swamps the works it houses, but Lucky sets nearly all the action on a small mobile wooden platform (representing the boat) and turns that vastness to its advantage. There was a real sense of the three characters being cast adrift, being alone in a world of their own in the middle of a wider world which did not have a place for any of them.

The show is put on by IPAN as part of the Spare Room. I saw (and enjoyed) IPAN’s show Bite Size as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, and this show has confirmed for me that they are a creative team to watch. Lucky is not a flawless piece of theatre by any means, but it is a beautiful one, an important one, and one well worth watching.

IPAN International Performing Arts Network in association with The Spare Room presents
by Ferenc Alexander Zavaros

Director Sama Ky Balson

Venue: New Theatre | 542 King Street Newtown
Dates: 6 – 22 October 2011  
Times: Tuesday – Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 5pm 
Bookings: 1300 306 776 |

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