Image description: A man – with long, dark hair and a dark beard – lays nearly-naked on a background of black sequin material. With lips pouting and arms behind his head, he looks into the camera. His genitals are covered by large diamantes.
By Elaine Hanlon // @elainehanlonart
Cam Venn – Shark Heist is absurdity at its best, where Cam Venn fearlessly pursues his vision and pushes the boundaries of social acceptability. The show gives a hilarious and unpretentious insight into the creative mind of Venn, a physical comedic performer who uses his body, deadpan timing and audience participation to maximum effect.
Venn and the audience play all of the roles in this show about a retired thief and his crew reuniting for one last heist: a jewel protected by a killer shark. Completely smashing the fourth wall, he encourages anyone who is inspired to leap onto the stage alongside him at any time.
Ambitiously, this one-man-show attempts to deliver a theatrical production set in what looks like a man-child’s bedroom; the room is littered with second-hand props, including an array of wigs, masks, puppets and makeshift set pieces, all astutely chosen to aid the story-line.
But the most novel feature of the show is Venn’s reliance on voluntary audience participation. Somehow, his gentle demeanour and honest celebration of every person’s contribution generates an enthusiasm that I have never seen before, as though we were all mates messing around after a few drinks. The unexpected laughs created by this hazardous, improvised style were, at times, gob-smackingly brilliant. The committed performances by the audience were outstanding and really elevated the show. In the end, it was an inimitable and mesmerising piece of theatre.
Be warned: the show includes unabashed nudity – and a lot of it. But Venn’s laidback and uninhibited approach has the audience cheering and spurring him on.
This show’s farcical style makes it an artistic stand-out, just as ambitious and bizarre as his previous shows Balls Deep (2016) and Charles Horse Lays an Egg (2018). The audiences’ reactions ran the full gamut – some were doubled over with laughter, while others were left shocked and bewildered, perhaps wishing they could unsee what they had just seen! Certainly, this show isn’t for everyone.
Overall, this production is a must-see for those who love the ludicrous; a definitely-don’t-see for theatre traditionalists; and who-knows-what for those of us in between.
Cam Venn – Shark Heist runs until the 16th of February at the Gold Digger at Fringe Central. Tickets are $25 and you can get them here.
Cam Venn – Shark Heist steals 4 out of 5
Elaine will never look at fishnet stockings and crotchless pink knickers the same way again.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival
Woodside Petroleum is a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD Festival. Pelican has been a long-time supporter of the Festival, and will continue to show its support. However, the Magazine feels it is unethical for Woodside Petroleum to remain a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD, given the current climate emergency, and Woodside’s ongoing contribution to climate change.
Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action