PICNIC review 3 stars

Review  by Hayley Simpson

Picnic is a one-man show that begins on a picnic rug and ends with a kite blowing in the breeze. Gerard Van Dyck of The Collapsible Man fame is the star of the show, which is currently being held in the basement at Melbourne’s Forty Five Downstairs. Picnic is a collection of interpretative dances, audience interaction and monologues. It expertly uses the naïve, humble picnic setting to delve into the adult world. It is a show that will have audiences reminiscing long after they leave the theatre.

Picnic is written by acclaimed Australian writer and broadcaster Marieke Hardy and Alistair Macindoe is the composer. Van Dyck’s performance is unique, in that he presents adult “grown up” material in a childlike manner. Picnic features a few intermittent vlogs, from day one when he quits his office job to day 200 when he is sleeping wherever his body falls. But this adult life is interestingly contrasted with childlike wonderment. Following the video monologues, he happily eats an ice-cream while dancing across the stage and flies a kite, which blows in the non-existent breeze.

The audience interaction implemented is a welcoming element to the performance. At the beginning, Van Dyck invites the audience to check under their seats for food. He is consequently thrown a packet of sausages, potato salad and Red Rock Deli chips. Near the end of Picnic, the audience is asked to retrieve a pencil and piece of paper from under their seats. Each spectator is asked to write a love letter to themselves. An esky is then passed around and the audience places their memo inside, to then choose someone else’s at the end of the performance.

I didn’t expect personal reflection when I entered the theatre, but Picnic is a show full of surprises.

PICNIC is playing at Fortyfive Downstairs from the 18th – 30th August 2015.