Yours the Face (FRINGEWORLD 2015)

Review by Laura Money

Melbourne’s Quiet Little Fox team of Fleur Kilpatrick and Perth born Roderick Cairns bring to FRINGEWORLD 2015 a tale of beautiful people getting very, very ugly. In this one-man show acted by Cairns and written by Kilpatrick, a former model, Cairns adopts the dual roles of Peter – a brash, arrogant Aussie photographer, and Emmy – a shy, unsure, philosophical, yet naive American model. Their different worlds collide when Peter takes a photo of Emmy in a fashion shoot and something indescribable connects between them.

Walking in to The Blue Room, it looks like everything is set up for a photo shoot. There are white umbrellas covering lights, white draped curtains and a lone chair. In a series of camera flashes, Cairns changes positions to create flashes of himself on the back of the audience’s retinas. When he starts talking, we can’t tell he is initially playing a woman. With his beard and masculine clothing, the assumption is it is a male model he is portraying. He abruptly switches from the slightly unsure Emmy, regaling us of her journey to London and her first impressions to Peter, the brash loud and obnoxious Australian photographer.

Cairns is phenomenal. His face transforms perfectly to settle into the features of each character and you can truly see Emmy poking out from behind the beard. His physical nature is used to its full advantage in the nude scenes, he is Peter when standing naked over the chair (representing Emmy.) Turning around, however, he is Emmy with his slim hips and shoulders and top bun he could easily be taken for female. The fluidity of gender, sex, consent, identity and even insecurities is epitomised in Cairn’s capacity to play both characters. Something would have been lost if it had been played by two separate actors.

Yours the Face is a thought provoking, intelligent and somewhat whimsical work that will make you question notions of identity and the irresistible pull we sometimes feel towards each other.

Yours the Face played at The Blue Room Theatre as part of its Summer Nights Program for FRINGEWORLD 2015 from the 3rd – 7th February.

Photo: Sarah Walker