AtticErratic's body of work continues to grow in complexity and prominence. The independent company from Melbourne – some of whose members have been nominated for the 2011 Green Room Awards – has brought one of its foundational works, Ad Nauseam, to the Fringe, reworked and refined. The piece is about a man in self-destruct mode. It's like Steve McQueen's recent film, Shame, without the thinking space and with added cigarette burns.
Tom Pitts has written the score, the script, and directed, compiling with performer, Nick Bendall, a dense, intricate monologue. It explores the motivation, viscerality, and emotional thrashing that clouds one lustful, unfaithful man. Bendall is entrancing, owning every slight movement, articulating every syllable with precision. He holds the audience by the throat against a wall, only rarely letting them steal a breath.
Pitts' words are heavy on impact, taking every opportunity to physicalise emotions. You can let them wash over you like poetry, letting them colour your mind dark shades. They are tightly-woven and it is clear that Pitts has worked closely with Bendall, both ensuring that large chunks are not washed away as verbosity.
One of the most impressive things about the piece is the way that Sarah Walker's sound and lighting are used to directly highlight the monologue's cadences. Lighting is simple, but effective in its use of starkness and shadow. Pitts' recorded score resembles the dark, rhythm-heavy rock of Nick Cave or Bill Callaghan, and serves to lift and intensify what goes on in the mind of Bendall's character. These elements create an overwhelmingly immersive cohesion.
Be prepared to engage with Ad Nauseam head-on. It persits with its intensity, like a William Burroughs novel, but there's great beauty in its violence.
Written and composed by Tom Pitts
Venues: Queen's Theatre 2 | Cnr Gilles Arcade & Playhouse Ln, Adelaide
Dates: 6, 8 and 10 March, 2012
Tickets: $19.00 – $17.00