Illuminated by a mere light bulb and buried within a labyrinth of strained plastic reeds lies Skye Gellmann’s Mothlight world: a constructed space within which physical prowess is tested and the inner psyche investigated. Despite beginning on fairly conventional grounds—a monologue about a dream concerning house mates, marriage and the beach—Mothlight quickly descends into an intense and captivating performance, made up of just the right amount of elusiveness and directness so that the end result is a piece that encourages discussion rather than denies it.
Having been generally classified as a circus performance, it is surprising that Mothlight is actually an extremely sombre and experimental affair, filled with long periods of silence and flashing periods of absolute darkness. A show consisting of a mere two people, performers Gellmann and Francis display their ability to defy gravity and meld their bodies into fascinating shapes. But really, that is not the driving force of Mothlight: at its heart, it is a revealing performance, rather than one aimed a showing and telling.
Another strength of Mothlight is the world in which it is presented, a place reminiscent of that spider cave—Shelob’s lair in The Lord of the Rings. Gellmann’s creative atmosphere drives Mothlight’s manipulation of space and ultimately proves to be a fine example of why the Melbourne Fringe Festival exists. Claustrophobics beware; it is a crowded and unseated world, but enduring forty-five minutes of squatting and scampering in the dark will be well worthwhile. Gellmann’s questionable, intentional dry humour adds a surprising lightness to the space and is highly entertaining.
Sold out in its opening night, the already popular Mothlight does not need this review to attract an audience. However, as an aside it is a truly compelling, interesting experience. Let that compel you.