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Corn Exchange - Throat

25th February 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Mosaic of emotions

Throat, at The Corn Exchange, on Wednesday, February 25

When Throat was launched at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe it received a Total Theatre Award and much critical acclaim, which it richly deserved. The Corn Exchange is to be congratulated on bringing such diverse theatre to the town.

Throat is a fusion of circus skills, physical comedy and dance, played with such belief and commitment by the multi-talented John Paul Zaccarini who created a display of physical grace and eroticism that shifted from hilarity to despair and vulnerability to self-confidence.

It is about the very nature of the human condition, about communicating and not communicating. It is a mosaic of different experiences that the audience can relate to at many different levels. The images and keenly-observed characters that John Paul creates resonate with clarity and passion.

We meet the insecure person dressed in a green Japanese dressing-gown, trying to come to terms with life, preening into a mirror, watching television, who then transforms in an instance into a stereotypical Australian or EastEnder getting drunk.

Then there is the male rock idol boasting an Afro hairstyle, dressed in leathers, creating a wonderful parody of a macho pop star including a hilarious interaction with the audience as he eyes up the talent.

What is so impressive about this performance is the way it can both surprise and shock you. There is a moving scene with a loaf of unmade bread that is kneaded and then oozes a blood red colour, powerful images that were open to interpretation, but this could be birth and the dawning of a new life.

By far the most stunning part of the performance was when the stage was covered in water and John Paul created the most wonderful ripple effects, reflected on the backcloth as he slithered in the pools of water. Then suspended on a rope, shedding clouds of flour with a deluge of water pouring down on him from the roof he performs, with startling agility, some outstanding movements in a spectacular finale.

Director Flick Ferdinando had conceived a magical and emotional evening of total theatre that was exquisitely executed.