Presented by CFAT and Darahrouge
Sue Benner Theatre
Season: 31 January – 18 February 2017; Duration 90 minutes
Through my own experience, Metro Arts always seems to bring to Brisbane interesting and eclectic performing art pieces that push the concept of what can be construed as theatre to a different level and provide audiences with work that provokes thought.
Last night’s performance of Cargo Club, as presented by the Centre for Australasian Theatre (CFAT), Darahrouge, Brisbane City Council and Metro Arts, was no different. Directed by Dutch-born Guillaume “Willem” Brugman, Cargo Club, a show that promises “Transcultural underground for thoroughly good social intercourse” brings to the table an interesting visual journey, to say the least.
A marriage between two companies, one from West Java (Darahrouge) and one from far North Queensland (CFAT) and featuring a mix of performers from around the globe, the audience is basically thrust into a chaotic world where everything is happening with colour and sound and nothing is left to chance.
The imagination is free to do as it pleases - I say this because the majority of the one-hour performance is delivered in a mélange of different languages, such as in English, Papuan, Japanese and Indonesian dialects. This therefore pushes the actors performing their monologues to rely solely on their gestures and facial expressions to provide meaning to their words.
There were fragments and threads of different stories woven together in this intimate cabaret that demonstrated to the audience the power of the inevitable, and urged the members of the audience to really think about matters at hand.
At times, it took a while to really grasp what, in fact, was being said or portrayed, however there would always tend to be moments when clarity would ring through and an understanding between the audience and performers was achieved. This evoked some laughter at times.
Cargo Club is one of those pieces that is perhaps closer to art than theatre, however it resonates with emotion, a quiet strength and the voices of those longing to be heard. It is a piece that provides food for thought for those in attendance with some interesting visuals. One notable costume, for example, was made up entirely of plush toys.
For those intending to come a little earlier to the show, the performance actually commences outside the theatre in the carriageway. There, the audience is allowed to interact with the performers before being ushered into the Sue Benner space.
With the audience being invited to move around during the performance, even to get a drink from the bar, which is thoughtfully nestled in the corner, Cargo Club is most certainly unique, if not unconventional. This show was interesting, eclectic and unique with the chemistry between the actors, tight-knit. Whilst it may not be strictly conventional and everyone’s cup of tea, it is worth the sense of community and belonging that stems from the threads of people’s lives, hearts and voices being woven into the story.