Man With the Iron Neck @ Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide 10/3/2019

Man With the Iron Neck provides the stage to examine confronting and often unspoken topics, successfully blending physical theatre in gripping scenes of surrealism. Starting the show with a heartfelt Welcome to Country set the scene for what was to come over the next hour.

While the story is centred around an Aboriginal family, the themes are ones that extend to all people in one form or another. Themes of mental health, suicide, grief, exclusion and racism.

The powerful performance by Ursula Yovich as the mother was stand-out, particularly the scene reminiscing about giving birth to her twin children. The descriptive language used combined with the aeriel theatrics was mesmerising.  

The aerial work and physical theatre by the three younger members, Tibian Wyles, Kyle Shilling and Caleena Sansbury were impressive and made to look effortless.

The darker moments throughout are balanced with lighter, playful moments mimicking the reality of emotions going from light to dark.

I left the theatre feeling emotional and reflective from observing the raw emotions and vulnerabilities of the characters exposed, and their hidden thoughts expressed through whirling displays of physicality.

Mindful of the feelings the performance could experience, the audience were all provided with a booklet where you could write down things that were holding you back. These could be placed in baskets after the show and would be burnt in a respectful ceremony on the banks of the River Torrens.

This is a show that does not hold back on dealing with the idea of suicide and while at times could be quite confronting for people, particularly those who have experienced the suicide of a loved one, it to the forefront of people’s mind and allows it to be an openly discussed topic.

Adelaide Festival Review By Ilona Schultz

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