It’s Not for Everyone at Sydney Festival

Strange is an understatement. Going in, I had no idea what to expect when I curiously sought out to see It’s Not For Everyone, an acrobatic performance of sorts which seemed to lend itself to an absurd, possibly vulgar, expression of physical comedy through the raw interaction of two performance artists Jo-Ann Lancaster and Simon Yates, who thrust and contort their bodies and emit nonsense, of which the audience tries to make sense.

There was so much going on in the hour-long performance, containing clowns, acrobatics, mud-flinging and self-deprecation, paired with perfectly-timed lighting and sound design that packages the absurdity into a raw, emotionally driven art piece which makes you question the absurdity of performance and why you are laughing.

Never a dull moment, there was so much on offer including music performances, dance, comedy and just plain absurdity, including a moment when I spotted a naked man putting on his underwear in the dark and there behind me were a group of women who erupted in laughter – I wasn’t sure which was funnier, the man or the reaction of the crowd.

At first I found myself more fascinated by the technical aspects of the performance – how does the lighting work, is the set falling apart or has this been planned, what will the performers do next, but slowly I lost to the laughter of the crowds and joined in laughing at the absurd.

It’s Not For Everyone manages to balance the beauty and technical prowess of acrobatics with the fine line that is self-depreciating comedy, the sort of physical slapstick comedy you would expect to see in circus clown performances but done in such a way that makes you question what is means to be a performer and what it means to be human.

Whether it be seen as social commentary on the life of a performance of just plain stupid fun, It’s Not For Everyone is a riot that evokes a response in all who see it.

It’s Not For Everyone plays once more at Sydney Festival, tonight (Jan 15th), at Carriageworks. So get your skates on and get a ticket pronto:



Review by Addy Fong.