Fringe Performance



four stars

Psychedelic Rock Gecko. Dusky Seaside Sparrow. Fire Millipede From Hell... If these sound like fantastical creatures out of fiction, well – like thousands more species of flora and fauna – they might as well be imaginary, because they are all already extinct or seriously endangered.

As their names come and go across the screen upstage, Tom Bailey goes into action: physically and vocally enacting how, for instance, the Even-Fingered Gecko might have behaved. Sitting atop a perspex box full of bones, he’ll do this with many more of these long gone inhabitants of our Earth – and we chuckle, because his cleverly-crafted movements often have a cartoon whimsicality to them.

Vigil, however, is really no laughing matter. Bailey’s brief mimes simply can’t keep up with the on-screen lists. Whereupon he introduces us to the last remaining Penitent Mussel whose tragic soliloquy – part dreamscape of freedoms we humans enjoy, part ‘mea culpa’ for failing to survive – might one day come home to roost for us too.

Until August 25 (not Mon 19), 1pm

Miss Amerika


four stars

On-screen, blurry images of the Miss America pageant spool by as a cheesy ditty describes the USA’s ideal woman. Mackenzie Tomski is not that ideal: she’s an immigrant. She’s also a persona created by Mirenka Cechova (of the Czech Republic’s Spitfire Company) and in this blisteringly fierce solo show it’s her experiences – as an illegal, trying to survive in New York – that drive the narrative, the songs, the projected artworks.

Hers is the perspective of an outsider who – despite the name change, losing her accent, dressing more ‘street’ – is already excluded: no access to healthcare, no job security, no right to leave and come back because she has no visa.

Cechova energetically embraces hip-hop, rap and stand-up comedy with a satirising flourish before appearing as Miss Amerika in a teensy stars’n’stripes outfit. Along the way she highlights the plight of other real-life illegals – like her they’re talented, hard-working, keen to fit in. Maybe, like her, they left in the end.

Until August 25 (not Mon 19), 6.45pm

Mary Brennan