Isabel Angus in her 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival show ‘BLISS!’ has developed a character that is satirical and yet all too real. Isabel’s character “Penny Parsins - personal trainer extraordinaire” takes the audience on a fitness journey with Instagram and fitspo jargon peppered throughout.
BLISS opens strongly, capturing the audience’s attention and sets up a solid base from which the performance launches. The standout part of Isabel’s performance is her character and commitment to it. Isabel portrays Penny Parsins with such intensity and passion that it leaves the audience with a lasting impression.
Parts of the show faded in the latter stages with small pauses causing the show to lose a bit of momentum. The high intensity nature of the show is intoxicating but not necessarily sustainable for a performer or for the developing character arc, meaning that these pauses are possibly a necessity.
If you check out Isabel’s show, look at her eyes. There is a particular skill in conveying feeling with minimal movement and Isabel executes it well. There were multiple well-executed planned audience interactions as well as unsolicited ‘cute’ moments of audience involvement where punters were emotionally supportive of Penny Parsins’ humanity. This is where meaning truly comes into the show. Penny’s frailties are all too relatable and relevant in a culture obsessed with social media and Insta-gratification. Hearing the support from the well-meaning audience was both heartening but also enhanced my appreciation for the show.
Are you ready for BLISS!? You can see Isabel Angus’ show from 18 September to 25 September at The Courthouse Hotel (Corner Errol & Queensberry Street, North Melbourne).