Simultaneously bewildering, fragmented, seamless, quirky, and breathtaking, Matthew Mackenzie's The Particulars, similar to his epic play Bears, is led by a lone protagonist surrounded by a dancing chorus of lovely and menacing creatures.
In this incarnation these exquisite bodies beautifully manipulate the main characters dramatic trajectory as they embody a bevy of diaphanous gender cloaked 'fairies' - buds blossoms angels gorgeous insects - what have you - in a tragicomic romp through the details of everyday life, trauma, coping, and gardening mayhem.
Simon Bracken's Gordon is an ordinary fellow trying to fit into the gayly heteronormative, secretly porn invested world that his job demands. As Bracken wanders the stage in a loose dressing gown, exposing, covering up, and generally parading his lovely physique here and there, a rippling well toned chest in tow, the overall effect becomes a singly costumed nightwear fashion show of surreal proportions, leading to a denouement and finale that one could never have expected.
Previous productions and promo photos have Gordon wearing 'normal' business attire. The change for the Theatre Centre production renders the complicit yet hapless victim of skewed heteronormative chaos more fragile, vulnerable, and easy to sympathize with.
Bracken combines the loose, revelatory clothing with a contrastingly stalwart, almost satiric tone and sharply sculpted, deeply endowed vocal delivery. His phrasing and movement is brilliant, with elements of distractingly effective timing and seemingly random, silent muttering that moves in and out of traditional theatre blocking and direction - ultimately striking one as a dizzying tour de force of acting nonchalance-cum-precision.
Similarly, all of the dancers embody some of Gordon's worst fears as they mourn and run amok amongst domestic upheaval. They surrond him, circle him, and generally give his playing space a formidable tragi-comic world to frolic, romp, to revile, to live, and to be demolished within.
Choreography by Alida Kendell begins as a deceptively simplistic accompaniment for the entrance of the man of the hour, yet quickly develops into the sometimes tragic joke of contemporary existence as intricate dance movement - both comically and tragically - beautifully punctuates each and every harrowing particularity involved. And then their is the final unveiling that represents social-sexual disorder at its most predictable, damning, and truly poignant.
The Particulars attests to the intricate workings of a 21st century struggle to stay alive within the ever growing dissonance of the same old social gardens, jungles, offices, hierarchies & particular details that can render life both hilarious and chilling, arboreal and urban.
running at the Theatre Centre until October 26th