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Review: Cabin Fever at Adelaide Caravan Park

By Lisa Lanzi

Another superb example of what a Fringe Festival can (and should) offer and indeed foster : Dianne Reid’s Cabin Fever is a successful and multi-layered solo performance incorporating movement, improvisation, film, text and more. The audience is capped at ten and the work takes place in a cabin, in a caravan park just shy of Adelaide’s CBD. Today was show 2 of 7 - Book now and experience top-notch, intimate, cross-artform physical theatre.

Enter a two-bedroom cabin and take a position on either side of the table in the central living/kitchen area. A voiceover encourages us to get to know the other members of the audience and to make ourselves comfortable, sit or stand as you please. No special lighting invades the space, just the late afternoon light through windows and the cabin lights are on in both bedrooms. We pause and the artist enters… no spoiler here! You have to see for yourself.

This female character acknowledges the space and us, attends to her toilette and begins to move in the intimate space, at times involving audience members in a gesture game or acknowledging them with a smile or a respectful touch. Dianne is an artist that can inhabit a space and time, connect with the viewer and bend them gently to her will. There are mumblings and spoken words, a slightly troubled personality emerges and we are invited into this small world within a world.

Both bedrooms come into play at times as does furniture and various entrances and exits with audience moving through spaces now and then. At times we experienced the chaos of the character’s inner life but the skill of the artist meant that we felt safe in the face of this. However, the outstanding but seamless confluence of physicality, digital video, text and voice is the rich fabric of Cabin Fever. Few artists can command so many platforms with such assurance and attention to detail but many could learn from experiencing this work. Other examples of Dianne’s digital work can be seen on her Hipsync website.

A particular moment in one bedroom captivated me entirely. Dianne’s minimalist movement and spoken word composition melded with her digital art was deeply poignant and although we were enclosed in a tiny room, the universality of the work at this point transported us to a larger sphere of existence.

Accompanying this solo is a fascinating soundtrack collaged and manipulated by Dianne with contributions by Adelaide legends Stuart Day and Heather Frahn plus other composers. The sound and music is a subtle but complementary layer evoking unease or curiosity and supports the inherent humorous aspects as needed.

Cabin Fever is an contemporary, abstract, thought-provoking and skilfully executed cross-artform work that I hope will be seen by many and re-staged in the future. It also has potential to be worked into a longer piece.

Photos Supplied by Lisa Lanzi

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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