By Zachary Sheridan
Pitched Black tells the tale of three young men on the precipice of their adult lives. As advertised, it revolves on the bush, the beer, and the boys. Presented by Lazy Yarns, we meet Alex (Mitchell Whelan), Nat (Cam Pollock), and Lucas (Isaac Diamond) camping in the outback one night, seemingly for the final time before their lives may potentially trek out along different paths.
The performance is tight, there is a palpable chemistry between the players, all of whom embody distinct, well-rounded characters, and the sound design creeps under your skin in a good way. These boys are of a certain time and place which will be very familiar to audiences of a similar age. Questions emerge: Where to go in this wide world? How to make that journey meaningful? And how do you tell those most important to you exactly how you feel? That is the elephant (or, rather, giant mythical frog) in the room throughout the piece.
Given the performers’ crisp sense of comedic timing, Pitched Black also has a great sense of humour. The personal highlight being Nat’s inner monologue played out by Lucas as he tries to woo classmate Stacey (characterised by Alex at the time) in a recollection. This also leads to the other main point of interest in Pitched Black – the devisors’ ability to switch between forms, from realism to a presentational approach, and there’s even a bit of puppetry, too.
Of course, the TAFE classroom as venue presents challenges, and the production would benefit from further development in refining its final stages. However, the bottle of ideas opened provided fruitful discussion amongst audience members post-show, as some pondered on friends long lost while others yearned a holiday in the great outdoors. For those not of their world, Pitched Black is a voyeuristic opportunity to uncover what exactly it is that boys get up to whilst camping. And it is not the cliché dick jokes one would expect.
Hokkien House, Noodle Palace // Remaining Performances: 18 Feb @ 4PM
Tickets available at:https://www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/event/pitched_black/36a58606-efc0-4b69-b717-0b95eea8f840/