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Review: Pisca at The Trades Hall

By Chloe Perrett

If you're not familiar with the name Pisca then now is the time to familiarise yourself. 

Cameron Taylor has perfectly conceived the lovable character, Pisca from the soul and this is so very obvious from the opening moments of this unique and heart-warming cabaret. Pisca is a newborn duck who is sadly orphaned when his parents (two adorable foot sock puppets) are shot by hunters in the opening scene. We see Pisca crack through his life size egg into the world and quickly adapt to his new surroundings. Taylor’s perfect use of intricate physicality, clowning skills and minimal dialogue is nothing short of incredible in creating this unique and heart-warming character. His simple use of shell white and baby blue face paint has a subtle hint of KISS design, accompanied with white and blue long-johns and a nest of white feathers that really set Taylor and Pisca apart. 

There’s something beautiful about watching an actor demand the stage with the basic use of soft background music, colour appropriate lighting and just being present with such simplicity and small use of words. Every time Pisca peeps out a word or two you swoon as though he is a little puppy wanting to play fetch with you - Pisca is a baby duck after all, so it only makes sense that he automatically has this effect on the audience, and then blows everyone away when Taylor begins to belt out the most gorgeous tune mid-show. You don’t see this coming, which makes Taylor's bold move even more like hot chocolate fudge to to the ears. This guy can really sing!

At times the story line is a little unclear; I’d love to see how much the plot of the show could thicken if Taylor developed Pisca’s story more with a dramaturg and/or director on-board. A third eye to this show could be the final piece of shell that helps catapult this stunning little show into a full masterpiece. 

He continues to beautifully drop in songs, including an adorable moment with a bright yellow sunflower and Love is in the air to use as a segue into clever audience interaction. Pisca confidently collects his flowers and rubs them on audience members to gain their scent, creates the perfect wedding proposal using the flowers and then magically gets the entire room involved by directing the audience to  all become fish in the sea; just so he can throw a line and hook an audience member up onto the stage and then hilariously cook and eat them. His quick ad-libbing with the audience member is courageous and doesn’t allow Taylor is break from character at all. It’s his commitment to the quirky sense of humour that makes you laugh at the slightly confusing scenario happening before your eyes. 

The hunters who killed Pisca’s family members re-appear through the use of strong amber and red lighting and a soundscape to emphasise the fear of what it would be like to be a duck, alone and trying to not become someone's next dinner. 

Pisca's impeccable comedic timing is surprisingly delightful and you crave more by the end of the 60 minute show. It would be wonderful to see such a character in a Spiegeltent. 

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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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