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Review: Re-Member Me at the Perth Festival

By Tatum Stafford

I can confidently say that I have never seen a show like Re-Member Me before.

As lip-synching pro Dickie Beau commanded the stage of Studio Underground, it was clear the whole audience was in awe of this British dynamite. Donning some extremely stylised 80’s activewear and lip-synching to a Hamlet-inspired version of YMCA, Beau had us in the palm of his hand from the moment the lights went down and the disco ball rolled out.

The show was not only a visual spectacle, but a spectacle of storytelling. As you can imagine, theatre greats such as Sir Ian McKellen, Sir John Gielgud and Suzanne Bertish have a lot of wisdom to impart – and when it comes to the mammoth role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, every leading actor has his own experiences, lessons and advice.

A particularly enjoyable sequence utilised a screen and 4 of Beau’s pre-recorded lip synchs: of former agent John Wood, former artistic director at the Royal Sir Richard Eyre, actor Sir Ian McKellen and actor Sir John Gielgud. As each recording played (and each face humorously reacted to the others), Beau began to assemble the separated mannequins and clothes strewn on the stage into ‘characters’ behind a silk screen – making for some seriously impressive silhouette and shadow play.

The story of Ian Charleson was particularly inspiring and made up a large majority of the show. It is quite an emotional tale following the actors’ inspiring struggles with AIDs, his notable charity performance in ‘Bent’ as a drag queen, and the penultimate role of his career: Hamlet. A beautiful tribute to Charleson’s singing ability occurred as Beau established a hospital setup and a moment of silence to a stunning recording of him singing ‘My Love is like a Red Rose”.

The final sequence was extremely moving, beginning with an impassioned reading of a Sunday Times review for Charleson’s Hamlet performance – read by former chief critic John Peter himself. Beau took centre stage to close the piece with a touching, emotionally-charged reading of an iconic Hamlet passage before the lights came up and the raucous applause started.

This was such a unique piece of theatre which, if you are in Perth, I urge you to see before it closes on March 3rd.

Photo Credit: Robin Fisher

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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