With blind goats, flamenco dancing, and Brazilian exuberance, Turmoil is a surreal tragicomedy set in an over-the-top Jane Austenesque South-American world.
Jô Bilac’s Turmoil tells the story of a newly married couple set in Elizabethan times, bathed in Jane Austen reminiscence. The blurb didn’t fail to disappoint in the promise of an utterly random and bizarre tale of family conflict, the care of a pet man-goat, and relationships. An originally interesting premise for a show.
The ensemble was faced with a challenge of maintaining high energy and great physicality through the performances; but they do well to keep the audience engaged with laughter and poignancy.
There is a sharp fluidity throughout this strange world, with elements of commedia dell’arte and clowning, with Direction from Andre Pink. With constant bickering and clashing between Bianca (Ciara Ellen Molloy) and her newly fledged sister-in-law Vladine (Fernanda Mandagará), the hatred between the two characters is rife and felt within the room. There is a raw and natural clash between the two and it feels authentic in their quest for attention and love from Matias (Andre Pink). Nataniel (Rebecca Briley), the blind goat, is a comical and absurd role which brings an extra layer of ridiculous to the story, but is played with great conviction and dedication to embodying a goat (but the gag tires quickly and it does seem to drag on).
The element of live music – accordion and guitar from Ella Bellsz and Tom Bauling – was a particularly unique experience. The music was used to set the tone and atmosphere of the scenes, creating tension between characters where needed and mellowing moments too. Similar to the goat gag, the accordion felt a little monotonous after a time, feeling that the joke had been played and the bellows outstretched. Perhaps it is just difficult to listen to an accordion for that long.
The ensemble really make this production a success, with their easy flowing chemistry, allowing the whacky story to unfold comfortably and with snappy interactions. This unique performance is peculiar and worth of a look for an evening of confusion and laughs at the very least.
Turmoil runs at the Wandsworth Fringe until 13 May.