‘The Polite Gentleman’ was written by Mark Storen, and first saw light about a year ago. This hilarious, madcap yarn is blended with 90-year old blues music. It was nominated for a ‘best direction’ and ‘best performer’ award, but actually won the ‘best production’ award. Since then it has toured and been acclaimed.
This MOXY collective production is part of the Fringe World and the 50-minute performances start each evening at 9.30 pm at the PICA Performance Space, Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge and run until 22nd February.
The set, designed by Fiona Bruce, is a wave of carpet underfelt rising from the front of stage and up the rear wall. There is a chair and a microphone. A blue-light fly killer flickers and crackles above.
As a child, Mouse would listen to and admire his father playing blues in their fibro garage. Now Mouse is married to Isabel, a woman that he tolerates, and they have a couple of kids. Isabel seems to need her car serviced at Mark’s workshop more often than usual.
One morning Mouse awakes to find writing scratched onto his chest. Through the blood he sees an address, ’54 George Street’. Bored with his life, Mouse decides to seek out the address and discover what the message really means.
It is here that he meets the ‘polite gentleman’ – the Devil in disguise?
Mark Storen starts his performance by walking up to the microphone and giving his renowned cheeky grin. He strums his guitar and starts his superbly constructed tale. His laidback style of delivery, directed by Adam Mitchell, flows seamlessly from one situation to another. The language is a little ripe, but it is a blues show.
Andrew Weir’s musical soundtrack is in 1920’s style, with tracks from fabulous Southern blues singers like Robert Johnson. Storen slinks and grooves his way around the stage with an incredible style of dancing.
His storyline is wild, strange, off the planet, but delivered with such conviction and fascinating detail that you are drawn into the whole yarn, and believe every moment.
With all of the awards I expected a special show, and certainly this was the case. This overflowing show covered humour, live singing, jokes, horror and an effervescent presenter. Superb.