Review | Arteries by Ancestry is a beautiful queer Lynchian fantasy

Arteries By Ancestry | The Blue Room
Until Sept 2 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Entering The Blue Room Theatre this week, I knew little of what to expect from James McMillan’s latest work.

Having interviewed the show’s creator, I knew it would explore notions of hypermasculinity and queer relationships through theatre and dance – but how these would be applied was out of my reach.

The space had been divided into a runway with audience members on either side of the action. Performers Haydon Wilson and Noah Jimmy were frozen in the dull light wearing tones of flesh, beige and pink, forcing the audience to walk through the installation and establishing an intimate tone that would carry through the performance.

The play opens with a fast building intensity as Wilson delivers a bizarre diatrabe on the effects of plastic on the environment, punishing the ground with a whip that slapped the audience to attention.

It quickly becomes apparent that Wilson takes on many personas throughout the performance, across from Jimmy’s sole protagonist – Avery. The jarring opening scene makes way for a smooth, entrancing dance moment that introduces a romance between the pair.

As we progress, we see Avery interact with Haydon as his father, his lover and a sort of pseudo-narrator, who links the opening themata of plastic pollution to the narrative. Though Haydon’s alternating role was unclear in the beginning, a gradual realisation of his characters’ purpose shone through, making the performance all the more satisfying to absorb.

Director and playwright McMillan easily weaves dialogue, dance and movement with brilliantly executed sound and lighting decisions that allowed the show to alternate from ethereal to eerie without a moment’s notice.

Perhaps I am too invested in the current revival of ’90s cult smash Twin Peaks (No, I definitely am), but the tone and imagery of the piece is positively Lynchian and I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the tale as the character’s interactions grew in intensity and the boys engaged in more bizarre and beautiful ways.

If you’re a fan of linear narratives and cohesive dialogue, Arteries By Ancestry is not the show for you – but it is an absolute triumph of creative visual storytelling and evocative symbolism that is certain to resonate with anyone who has struggled to reconcile their queerness or femininity in a masculine man’s world.

Arteries by Ancestry will be at The Blue Room Theatre until September 2nd. Tickets and more information available from blueroom.org.au

The Blue Room Theatre are offering a special double offer along with their upcoming performance of Unveiling: Gay Sex for End TimesClick here to grab the deal!

Leigh Andrew Hill

Image:- Matthew Lister


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