Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pedalling Back

Written and performed by Jeff Michel
Blue Cow Theatre Inc.
Directed by Frank Newman and Melissa King
Touring through Tasmania Performs

Intelligent, fun, absorbing and elegantly simple. These are a few ways to describe Jeff Michel’s biographical theatre piece without giving too much away, because to go into detail would be tantamount to a spoiler. To detail Michel’s artfulness in conveying time and context would take away the delight of just working it out throughout the play. So too would be describing Michel's neat set, and clever sound and lighting by Matthew Fargher and Ghost McDonald respectively.

What can be said without giving too much away is that Michel’s nostalgic devices will grab anyone in the audience that grew up through the 80s and 90s. With the challenges of being a teenager not exclusive to any one decade, this is a play that anyone over thirteen can relate to. 

Michel’s play has evolved through a series of great theatre development schemes, including the Tasmania Performs Artist Residency, Blue Cow Theatre’s Cowshed program, the Theatre Royal, Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania Performs Rawspace and the Tasmanian International Arts Festival. It is described as a first, both for Michel as a playwright and Melissa King as co-director, working alongside Frank Newman. Both should be thrilled with the outcome of their first steps out into their new arenas.

Pedalling Back will tour Tasmanian regionally from 30 March to 9 April via Tasmania Performs. This is a golden opportunity to see thoughtful, good quality theatre outside of the city centres and deserves to be supported. Come on all you regional audiences, get yourself a couple of tickets! Check out tour dates and venues at Tasmania Performs.

by Stephenie Cahalan

Declaration: I attended the performance as a guest of a company member and with no suggestion of writing a review. However, I was so delighted with the show and so pleased that audiences across Tasmania will have the chance to see it, that I felt compelled to write it up.