FRINGE REVIEW: WHIPLASH, AT THE GALLERY ROOM, NATIONAL WINE CENTRE, 2019

Scott Wings’ (aka Scott Sneddon’s) one man show, Whiplash, is an ambitious piece of performance art which literally centres around one man’s journey inside himself to find his heart.

Wings uses mime, dance and a fractured commentary to drag us viscerally through the inner workings of his anatomy, forcing us to accompany him on his path to self-understanding. The show, however, aims at delivering a deeper philosophical message than his talents will let him achieve.

It is an interesting concept, but in the realisation, the core premise is beaten into submission by the wielding of too many awkward mixed metaphors, some inexplicable narrative leaps, and some, well, amateurish acting, all of which, when combined, just does not allow for the audience to engage with the show at any empathic level.

There is also an honesty here though, Wings wrestles with the friction caused between his innate insecure masculinity and his awareness that, in this present time, the raw brutishness that so frequently manifests itself has no place. At no point in the show, however, is that struggle articulated coherently – instead it is buried in a lot of militaristic weapon firing and strangely timed Star Wars references.

This overall criticism is not to say that Wings doesn’t work hard during the show – after nearly an hour of writhing, roaring, jumping, falling and nearly gouging his own eyes out, he works up a lather of sweat and his breathing is laboured from all his exertions.

Wings’ bio suggests a broad level of international experience, so it was a surprise to see him so nervous and so regularly slip out of character. Maybe it was just a bad night and, to be fair, playing to an audience who numbered in single figures on a very hot Adelaide night must be very disheartening.

Whiplash is an odd beast. I did not enjoy it, but, perversely, it does seem, in its uniqueness, just the type of show Fringe theatre should continue to encourage.

Rating: 1 1/2 stars

Whiplash is being performed in The Gallery Room at the National Wine Centre, nightly until 1 March at 9:45pm. Tickets are available HERE.

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