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Adelaide Fringe 2012

I Heart Jack

Anna Lumb

Genre: Dance and Movement Theatre


The Tuxedo Cat - Red Room, 199 North Terrace, Adelaide


Low Down

Avant-garde theatre that includes physical theatre, visual media, cabaret and jazz interconnects the story of how one man loved and left two women leaving them bitter and cynical about love. He may have been a fun-loving playboy but deep inside he was a complex, disheartened spirit longing for freedom.


This one-woman performance is an interesting mix of mediums through which three characters tell one story from different perspectives. An ageing cabaret performer recounts her love for one man, Jack, and how he broke her heart when he left her unexpectedly. Her throaty jazzy song is accompanied by astounding physical acts and a cigarette in hand. Between scenes a postmodern short film is projected introducing the next character, a young socialite. She is an eclectic mix of sixties fringe and American trash. Using an audience member to film her (creating an ‘avant-garde’ home movie) she spends her time on stage bemoaning her love for Jack and how he left her, turning her into the cynical sceptical she has become. Finally, Jack is given a chance to tell his side of the story using a mash-up of songs spanning eras gone by. His shallow life obscures his depression and a myriad of complex emotions he feels.

Anna Lumb does an exceptional job as three very different characters that are from different ends of the spectrum. She slips into each role with ease and demonstrates her astounding talent and skill in physical theatre and circus acts. The stories however need refining and create a sense of interconnectedness. The large gaps between acts break the momentum, and the overall performance feels disjointed because of the different mediums used in each scene.
The staging, direction and lighting were aesthetically very appealing and well coordinated. It gave the performance an artistic feel with a touch of nostalgia in the opulent, kitschy props and drapes. The soundtrack, however, failed to reflect the jazzy undertones of the play with only a double bass player occasionally plucking at the strings to fill in the gaps. Despite the sumptuous setting and numerous props the show lacked in depth and complexity.
I Heart Jack was an interesting depiction of postmodern theatre, combining different mediums to communicate different messages and set up different scenes. Sometimes less is more and this performance would have benefitted from fewer props and mediums, and more of the storyline.