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18 September, 2019

By no means a nightmare, but not the sweet dream I'd hoped for

“It was a dark and lonesome night…”

With this foreboding line and some audio-visual trickery, performer/storyteller Thomas Dudkiewicz cracked the spine on a metaphorical book of unsettling and – at times – scattered stories.

Bedtime Stories is a series of stories, within stories, possibly wrapped within another layer of stories.

Think of it as the radio play equivalent of Inception.

Visually, there’s not much there.

Dudkiewicz sits at a microphone on a raised platform, a laptop and control board before him.

Aurally is where the performance piece shines.

Dudkiewicz’s ability to snap between characters: father Max, daughter Lily, grandpa George and more, with a change in voice and a tweaking of audio effects was captivating, as was the positioning and use of surround sound speakers to attempt an immersive sound experience.

I say “attempt” because I felt the venue – an expansive and exposed rooftop in Bowen Hills – was not the best choice for a play that required sustained intrigue and intimacy to really make an impact.

Lights flicking on and off in nearby apartments distracted me, noises from nearby restaurants and streets drew my attention away from the story and a chilly breeze also detracted from my experience of the unusual and thought-provoking piece.

Perhaps a smaller, enclosed space would have made a more fitting reading room.