Adelaide Fringe 2020: Being Dead (Don Quixote)

When: 28 Feb – 15 Mar

Where: Little Theatre at RCC

How much: $23 – $33

Kerith Manderson-Galvin takes to the pastel pink, satin-y stage with a silky quiet voice and a timid demeanour. They are highly self-conscious of their stage presence as they begin to introduce their show and a selection of random, unconnected possessions. A cut-out of a cop with a hole fashioned in the mouth for them to speak through, an old coke can, and their latest haul from Kmart.

Wearing only nude underwear and sequined hair cap, this petite and softly spoken persona begins to take their small crowd through a certain progression of images that they find beautiful and inspires them. These evocative images are accompanied with nonlinear revelations that are relayed to their audience. Being Dead blurs the line between the real and the unreal, as Kerith ducks in and out of moments of true vulnerability, their tears welling up in moments that as they retell their stories, as you can see just how deeply they have cut them.

Quotes from Don Quixote are weaved throughout the performance, as well as plenty of horse paraphernalia. As their soft and delicate voice speaks, you can’t help but listen and concentrate on what they’re saying, giving the show a certain enchanting effect.

The climax within the show take place in a hospital operating table, with Kerith spiralling into what sounds like a bad dream with needles, psychosis, and exposed entrails. The finale of the show brings a stillness to their small crowd, then confusing the audience with an unexpected sing-along to an Australian classic children’s tune.

I’ll stress that this piece of contemporary performance is incredibly niche, and definitely wouldn’t appeal to the standard Fringe goer, expecting a few anecdotes and some musical numbers. The appeal of Being Dead comes from its obscure nature and ethereal atmosphere, but certainly not by its conventionality.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Milly Farmer

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