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Review: Plenty of Fish in the Sea at PACT Theatre

Review by Charlotte Leamon

Clockfire Theatre Company takes a plunge into exploring hook-up culture with their production of Plenty of Fish in the Sea. An absurd story following the journey of a man as he washes upon the shore of the French village Saint-Cotriade, joining a nun and her silent devotee Bernadette. An allegoric telling of how complicated, crazy, and fun online dating can be.

A set consisting of a moveable wardrobe, a bed, a chair, and a frame was malleable as we shifted between a bedroom, a kitchen, and a fishing boat. As these characters gather together in the boat, the nun teaches the new man how to throw his rod and fish. A lovely combination of movement and sound resulted in a beautiful sequence between the three of these characters. Rustic, woody, sounds of pizzicato strings allowed the audience to extend the one practical element of this scene (being fishing), to an abstract representation of the activity. In every instance, this team elaborated reality to an illusionary form making us live in a fever dream. In doing this, Emily Ayoub and Madeline Baghurst drew inspiration and conventions from Lecoq. This approach is new to the Sydney theatre scene and created an exciting, humorous work which was utterly refreshing. While this performance was mostly spoken in French, no words were needed as the audience followed the journey of three strangers soon to become lovers.

Each scene in the production was choreographed to sound and music, integrating props and objects. As they gutted the fish, they performed a choreographed dance-like sequence incorporating rhythmic movements that blended with the music. My favourite scene was when they consumed the very special cotriade stew…

A wonderful integration of design resulted in a horny and hallucinatory sequence. The frame attached to side stage and the scaffold bar above could be let loose from the side to swing and/or bounce. As all three were scoffing down their soup, the lost man bounced it to reveal a chaotic glitch of time where Bernadette and the nun were amid moving sexual tableaux. Suspiciously, as soon as he stopped it they were as stationary and ordinary as before. All in all, this resulted in a hilarious sequence which was chaotic and the pinnacle of absurdity.

The contrasting characters were well-written and delivered. The talkative nun rambled and raved in French, whilst Bernadette captured the man's attention through a curious gaze. Showing these personalities captured the confusions of online dating and hook-up culture in a fun way. This is further accentuated in direct reference to the Bible as it tells a story of Jesus ordering fishermen to cast their net on the other side of the boat after they bore no fish. This represents the online dating culture of today as we constantly yearn for someone but find it hard to find ‘the one’ because after all…there are plenty of fish in the sea.

This creative team and performers of Plenty of Fish in the Sea took an issue of our modern day and converted it into an outrageously funny piece of theatre. Incorporating Lecoq conventions allowed for a highly creative exploration of this topic, and resulted in a captivated audience.

Image Supplied


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