When I arrive at ‘Key to Kill’, a new Melbourne Fringe Festival show at Allpress Studio in Collingwood, I’m not sure what to expect. A leggy and slightly intimidating air hostess offers me a beer as I wait in the foyer.
“I’ve just spoken with the pilot and we’ll be boarding in five minutes,” she says with a smile.
We pair off and are ushered upstairs. Loud electronic music plays as we pass under a chandelier, made of long streams of VHS tape. I wonder how many dismantled B grade 90s rom coms it took to make the light fixture. We board our flight, air hostesses buzzing around, rearranging the other passengers into organised chaos.
We wait under netting made of more gutted tapes, wondering what’s in store for us. Suddenly, a pilot, or maybe a stuntman wrapped in cling film, begins to dance as the lights strobe. We’re ready for take off.
‘Key to Kill’ is unlike anything I’ve seen. We flit between different vignettes; a couple arguing over a table filled with cupcakes. One, clad in lingerie, reprimands the other for calling her the wrong name during a sex game: “Vanilla”. They have a “food fight”, but not the kind you’d expect.
Another vignette, a man and a bartender, swapping banter over a bar, the man dipping his hand into a bowl of bar nuts. “Nice nuts,” he exclaims.
A man breaks up with a vacuum cleaner.
“Call me when the dust settles,” he says. The vacuum’s heart is broken, and it breaks into an operatic number, with the assistance of a puppeteer.
Video and sound design is integral to the show’s success. The booming music and sound effects, the brainchild of Adam Hunt, draw the audience into the world of ‘Key to Kill’, where déjà vu is a common occurrence; just when you think the scene seems familiar, something happens to turn it on its head.
The theatrical and live performance elements of the show have been helped along by Peter Van Der Merwe, who also acts in the show.
Dani Boudville, an artist and one of the show’s organisers, says the sets are just one of the things that makes ‘Key to Kill’ unique.
“All the stuff behind me we’ve just made out of found objects. There are hundreds of reels of tape…kilometres of cling wrap, and it’s just this crazy mess really.”
Audiences might know Boudville from last year’s ‘Fred Hates Fashion’ event, which opened the 2014 Melbourne Spring Fashion Week to much acclaim. She hopes Fringe audiences will react in whatever way feels natural.
“I guess we want people to feel a bit uncomfortable,” Boudville says. “Everything we’re showing them is quite real and if it resonates with them, that’s awesome, but if they feel a bit weird or awkward, that’s alright too.”