Above : Tyler West, creator and performer of ‘The Wait’.
The Innocent Bystander Touring Hub has been presenting several Sydney Fringe Festival shows across early and late time slots. There is still time left this weekend to catch some of the diverse and entertaining shows on at The Old 505 Theatre, 5 Eliza St Newtown.
Anchored in the 9.30pm time slot for one last time this week is Tyler West’s deliciously engaging and relentlessly funny sonic-physical microphone-mime romp, The Wait. Running for around 50 minutes this show from a multi-award winning star of the international festival circuit is consistently joyous in its focus.
To imagine the speechless storytelling style of this imaginitive piece, think of an Umbilical Brothers gig sans sets, props, puppetry and maybe a more connected narrative. This event was much more than a broad catalogue of foley-like sound FX as arsenal with which to fire a familiar human situation at us. A range of vivid sounds and word structures coupled with lithe movement paint pictures for us.
In this highly accessible work, West chooses a predicament common to many of us. Arriving at a strange building and foyer prior to a formal job interview, he reminds us of the weird unwinding of time before eventually joining the intimidating panel of employers.
Here is a Fringe Festival event demonstrating an established modern style of mime but requiring as arts or theatre knowledge from us little more than an empathy for the common experience of job hunting and an eagerness to activate our eyes and ears to be thoroughly amused.
Using sound effects from doors to bubbles and farts to the mechanics of vending machines hungry for money and more, West uses the bare stage as an energetic virtuoso. In addition to a very smooth physical flow, super successful sound words freshly coined by West shine alongside his disciplined movement.
Added to such description are West’s impressive flexibility of facial expression, a huge variety of expressive gesture or gait and the hectic pace of this chameleon-like predicament comedy. These keep the audience on their toes and seize their attention from the show’s outset.
A handful of audience participation spots added to the hilarity and pure joy of West’s suggested pre-interview accidents, daydreaming and wanderings. Leading these collaborators from the crowd gently
and firmly, the successful results added the element of guided impro to the polished routine.
These moments and full audience contribution to the soundscape make for some of the most convincing audience interaction theatre spots I’ve witnessed for quite some time. These moments of play and West’s fine rapport with his audienceare a memorable feature of the show’s successful format.
The effort of concentration needed to negotiate some segues in the sequence proves worth any momentary confusion when the physical and phonic elements delight us, making us recognise and relax into the successive scenes.
Tonight’s show starts at 9.30pm and deserves a substantial and attentive fun Sydney Fringe crowd. You will leave the theatre in a great mood, wanting the wait for the return to our shores of Tyler West’s brand of talent and inimitable craft to be a short one.