The Advisors is the latest show from independent Perth theatre darlings The Last Great Hunt. Lacking a narrative or setting, the plays seeks to “open your eyes to all the things you didn’t know you needed to know” utilising the platform of physical theatre. It was written collaboratively by The Last Great Hunt, and directed by Gita Bizard.
The play is centred around the giving and receiving of advice, in all its different forms. The delivery of the advice is spread between five people, which makes for an interesting play on expectations. By allowing a diverse group of people to take turns giving and receiving advice between themselves, the show demands the viewer to consider the difficult relationship between social identity and advice given.
The show is presented entirely in a group setting, relying largely on synchronised movements between all the performers. While this creative choice was interesting, it effectively amounted to spreading a one-person show across multiple actors. In my mind this form of delivery limited what five distinct performers could do with the material, and made asynchronous moments stick out painfully.
At first, the voice struck me as somewhat immature, since much of the content initially related to dinner-party style observations. There were however some more profound beats later, where the subject matter turned to universal anxieties, such as death. The focus then was on more “real life” topics. Advice on topics such as drug abuse, murder, racism and fraud was presented subtly, rather than with the intention of shocking the viewer. A particular passage where the white male performer made an alphabetised list of racial slurs stood out. Again, the show was playing with our expectations, by abstracting the attitudes we expect to be associated with certain identities. Adding a later passage where the advisors took a surreal and apocalyptic perspective comprehensively made up for the weaker points earlier.
Despite my misgivings, these passages attest to the strength of the concept. As a whole the performance was well-considered and at times quite captivating. Highly recommended for those in the mood for a good non-narrative.
Words by Nick Morlet