As part of the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival, Luke Nowell brings to life a nonsensical physical comedy. Nowell’s one-man performance, pLight, showing at the Fusebox Theatre in Marrickville follows the great success of his previous entry into the 2014 Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival, The weaning of Life.
It was definitely not what I was expecting- it was more. I think physical comedy can often be hit-and-miss, but pLight was a clear winner. There was something for everyone as he forced the audience out of their comfort zones into an entirely new space. This space relied heavily on the engagement of the audience and their willingness to suspend their disbelief. Through lighting and sound production, the audience travelled with Nowell to distant planets, socially awkward parties and blizzards. Nothing was left sacred as he explored the many facets of life in small, poignant and hilarious sketches.
Nowell’s production is nothing less than Absurd. Having studied at French clown school, Ecole Philippe Gaulier, his physical theatre incorporates elements of pantomime, naivety, dramatic irony and he gives his everything to the performance. As with most absurdist theatre, it holds a magnifying glass over the follies and arbitrariness of the mundane. His performance pushes these to the extreme, eliciting a certain hysteria from the audience I was in- it was euphoric and most worked on the shock factor of the unexpected.
It was a visceral experience that incorporated very simple elements of slapstick, and visual humour that is accessible to everyone, regardless of comedy-preference. His comic timing and attention to detail is impeccable as he embodies all of his personas down to his very toes. There are also running gags that perhaps seem a little redundant until an anti-climax which is just purely nonsense.
I loved it, I had just a great night (and actually was a bit disappointed that it ended when it did). Nowell is very skilful at making his physical theatre seem effortless. It’s whimsical and light-hearted and a bit surreal at times- but definitely worth a watch.