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Plastic Beach
Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012
2

2 stars

Zoo Southside (venue website)
Theatre
3-12, 14-20, 22-27 Aug, 11:30am-12:30pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Inspired by true events, Plastic Beach tells the story of Ebbis, a lonely beachcomber who devotes himself to tracking down the 7,200 rubber ducks that get washed ashore when a boat spills its cargo.   Told primarily through movement, the show is composed of relatively long and slow-moving visual sequences. Some of these are interesting to watch, but fail to communicate the story effectively, at points verging on impenetrable.

The concept itself has promise – but without a strong physical theatre background, movement can be a difficult medium when it comes to storytelling. The ensemble need to aim for more athleticism and precision in their actions, as the movement sequences aren’t quite beautiful enough to get away with their slow pace.

The self-referential jokes featuring mistakes made by the performers are a little misjudged, considering how hard the narrative can be to follow. Slowing the action further, these pauses haven’t quite been earned.

There are some nice visual creations, particularly the scenes lit by torches. The use of a single sheet to create Ebbis’ map, table and bench is an enjoyable addition to the show, and creates some nice stage pictures. The ensemble cast share the portrayal of Ebbis, each donning a yellow bobble hat as they represent him. Again it’s a nice idea, but again it slows the pace, which sometimes tends towards the indulgently leisurely. 

Plastic Beach has an interesting event as its inspiration, but having taken so long to get as far as the starting point, there is little concrete development of Ebbis’ character and his journey through obsession. The ending, as a result, proves rather difficult to appreciate.

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