Homage to Uncertainty
Emma Beech @ The Tuxedo Cat – Yellow Room
7:00pm, Tue 5 Mar 2013
Emma Beech has always seemed to be the recipient of oodles of respect from the local artists that I occasionally hang out with, but – prior to this performance – I’d only ever seen her perform as the burqa-clad straight-woman to Steve Sheehan’s surrealist character, Stevl Shefn. In that role, it’s all about the eyes and the shoulders… with which Beech has managed to be so wonderfully expressive. But apart from that, and the adorable little card that acts as a flyer for Homage to Uncertainty, I am woefully ignorant of Emma’s work.
Homage starts with a bit of a stutter – Beech apologetically bumbles in, explaining how she watches people. What they do, what happens – and what doesn’t happen – as a result. She notes, with dry curiosity, the insignificant minutia that we all partake in: how we eat, how we stare at our phones, and how we waste time. Raw observation is peppered with considered insights, as short vignettes are delivered with an almost minimalist balletic physicality.
But there’s two more substantial stories that stick with me: Beech’s description of her Dad’s nervous breakdown struck a somewhat familiar chord, with her sharp analysis of the contributory causes juxtaposed with some gentle and heartfelt humour. There’s also the bittersweet tale of her brother’s friend, the Kramer to his Seinfeld, who strikes it rich with a speculative Internet venture whilst the hardworking brother sees no such reward.
Those two stories pretty much sum up Homage to Uncertainty – observation, objectivity, musings, mild heartbreak, light humour. And whilst Beech’s presentation certainly held my attention, the ending – such as it was – felt almost obscenely abrupt; it was almost as if the script was missing a page in the denouement. But that’s a small criticism for an otherwise engagingly quirky show.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 5, 2013