A Gigantic F#*K You To You All is the kind of tantrum you’d expect from a 2 year old. Ellandar Productions is celebrating their 2nd birthday in the true fashion of a toddler that is exploring the world with awe and yet furiously frustrated by it simultaneously.
I spent a good portion of this show swinging between whether I would recommend it or not. The short answer is that I would. It’s an hour or more of live entertainment from a group of young artists making a gallant effort to create fringe theatre. As the event invitation warned me, it was weird and the text was dense in parts, but it was also very funny and entertaining in others. If "quirky" is your thing, I think you'll love it.
The marketing was not exactly enticing, “Ellandar Productions presents a new theatrical work, void of any discernible plot. Something akin to anarchy in the space, five actors blundering through a show that promises to be nothing.” The title is literally offensive. Therefore, you may be curious as to why anyone would feel inclined to attend. There is no doubt in my mind that they have alienated a good portion of the general public and will attract only friends, other thespians and those loyal to their company. Perhaps this is a good thing though, while they’re still cutting their teeth as a brand and as artists, this was a safe way to experiment with theatrical form and conventions, while also having a go at building more traditional scripts as well.
In the Director’s note, Iskandar Sharazuddin asks: “How could we not come across as the pretentious young urban professionals that wanted to make a statement?” And that question, for me at least, remains unanswered by this work. The collaborative team on this project made it clear to us they were well aware that they were creating something artistically indulgent, perhaps in the hope that would make it ok to do so? I am inclined to agree with them there. If they were taking themselves seriously, then I would have struggled with the integrity of some parts of the work. However, they "took the mickey" out of themselves and each other so vehemently that there was almost nothing left for us to do.
The structure of the 70 minute show was 3 short skits interspersed with some comic banter and concluding with a glorious musical number. While there were some engaging moments and great performances by individuals in the 3 short scenes, the highlight for me was all the “to the audience”, “behind the scenes” work in between. I thought the “blue room” skit was a great idea that was executed well. There were a lot of other “in” jokes and industry references, which went over beautifully with the gathered punters, but again may disengage others.
The final number hails the show as a celebration of mediocrity, although I can’t agree. This group of young artists have proved themselves to be industrious, determined, talented, proactive and courageous. I commend them for their work and look forward to watching the company “grow up”.
Ellandar Productions presents
A Gigantic F#*K You To You All
Director Iskandar R. Sharazuddin
Venue: Lazy Susan's Comedy Den | 292 Beaufort Street, Perth
Dates: 12 – December, 2011
Tickets: $20.00 – $15.00