Glimpse, the debut production of The Kin Collective, is a promising start for Melbourne’s newest addition to quality independent theatre.
As suggested by the title, this is a series of narratives that offer the audience a chance to engage, if only briefly, with what lies beneath first impressions, assumptions and stereotypes.
The production opened with all cast members on stage, each watching and waiting in their own segregated little worlds while Bluey, a homeless character (Dan Hamill) launches the show. Hamill’s portrayal sets the standard high for the rest of the performers and reiterates the need for connection; the fear of boundaries and the risks that are evoked when we do catch a ‘glimpse’ of the unexpected.
Other strong performances were given by Marg Downey, Tom Barton and Keith Brockett, although all performers offered more convincing characterizations in certain scenes rather than others.
Similarly, scenes didn’t have an equal measure of depth and exploration. Didactic tirades against the Catholic Church and overdrawn jokes about the Kiwi accent seemed simplistic and out of place, especially in a contemporary production striving to be provocative.
However, despite these criticisms there is plenty of potential and much to be appreciated in Glimpse. The ensemble is talented and while the animation may have faltered at certain moments, the use of Jason Chatfield’sbeautiful drawings provided a sense of much-needed unity to the production. Unfortunately, this did not quite make up for the inconsistencies in narrative structure, scene development and characterization which seemed to reflect a medley of many artistic inputs and perhaps not enough dramaturgical advice.
Ultimately, if Glimpse is about establishing connections then it needs to go deeper: and in the week to come, it quite possibly will.