In a tiny tent in the middle of Adelaide, a man steps down from behind a cloud hanging from the ceiling and starts to strip for you. Unexpected, embarrassing, and a little titillating, the immediacy of this inherently sexy act shocks you. It is at this point that Geddes puts his clothes back on, and you think this has all come to a climax far too soon. In time, though, you realise that just because you’ve seen his dick, you know nothing about what’s really going on under his skin.
The Misery Children’s project, Him, is good. Like, proper good, the kind of good that makes you glad you are in Adelaide at this exact time, to be able to enjoy quality shows such as this. Him is a one-of-a-kind.
Helped by Daisy Brown’s direction, David Geddes gives a masterful performance—if you can call it that. The lines separating reality and acting are constantly blurred. You are never quite sure if he is being himself or acting. Assuming two characters in one body (one faux bubbly, the other genuinely pained—or should that be the other way around?), Geddes successfully creates intimacy with the audience in every sense of the word through his supremely honest performance. Working through issues of masculinity, identity and assuming the homosexual mantle, he spins a web of his (his?) life stories with a refined inelegance. He jumps from happy-go-lucky to heartrending so subtly through an excellent use of props. The stories he tells ring unnervingly true for any gay person sitting in the audience, myself included, as the old tales of coming out and awkward first sexual encounters are given new life through Geddes delivery. It is an incredibly fresh performance.
The music from Mario Spatё floats behind Geddes, providing the right mood but remaining firmly in the background. This does unfortunately mean that, given the small space, the noise from outside does occasionally intrude, but this is of small concern.
At several points during the show, Geddes asks “Are you paying attention?” The most interesting thing about this show is what it requires from you as a spectator is pain. Geddes strips not only to get a laugh, but to make a point—there are no boundaries from now on. The guards are coming down, and you cannot shy away from what is going to be said. No matter how painful the proceedings, no matter what is done or said, you are obliged to watch. The reward for doing so is boundless.
If you see no other show at the Fringe this year, see Him.