Paradise Lots – Melbourne Fringe Festival (VIC)

Directed and created by Pony Cam

Reviewed by Martha ‘MJ’ Latham

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

07 – 14 Oct
Festival Hub: Trades Hall – The Carpark
About Pony Cam: https://ponycam.co/Homepage

This has been one of the hardest reviews to write. Half of what makes Paradise Lots so exciting is the mystery. How can I talk about a work without revealing too much? But I have to try because what PonyCam & Co have created is simply beautiful. 

As you are led through the carpark, taken from space to space, emotion to emotion, the performers so gracefully manage to maintain a cold performance style without distancing themselves too much from the audience. The whole work is a beautiful example of why immersive work will always have a place amongst the theatrical landscape.

Throughout the show you will find yourself being treated as a friend and a foe, an insider and an outsider. Every moment is unlike the last and I found so many moments where I simply could not stop the smile from peeling across my face while someone glared at me and rolled their eyes.

The work is inherently about youth. What it means to be young; to be angry, to learn, to feel abnormal, to feel stupid, to laugh and most of all to have fun. The ability of the work to remind its audience members of their youth is remarkable, but what makes Paradise Lots stand above is its power to show what it’s like to be a young person now. 

Riddled through the work is feelings of climate anxiety, a sense of hopelessness about the future and a nihilistic worldview. When audience members collect their complimentary soy hot chocolate at the end, I hope they leave with a lot more compassion for the youth of today than when they arrived. I hope they hug the young people in their life and commit to doing better by them.

Sadly, Paradise Lots is held back from perfection as it is simply inaccessible. If you or your companion happens to have some kind of disability you will find this work difficult, and arguably impossible, to attend. I asked the cast what they do in circumstances where someone who needs a mobility aid attended and they said they had yet to have someone come through. Whether it’s clambering through cars or moving through tight spaces or the ending where [REDACTED], I doubt someone less able than I would have had the same experience as me.

It’s a disappointment because everyone should be able to experience the beauty of such a work, and I hope PonyCam makes accessibility a greater part of their work in the future. 

I truly loved Paradise Lots, and I know anyone reading this would too.


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Directed and Created by: Pony Cam
Created and Performed by: Grace Cai, Bianca Solomon, Daro Sim, Dasha Tan, Eliza Vane-Tempest, Charlotte Lynch, Isabel Knight, Isabelle Piccolo-Cody, Ivy Crago, Lakshmi Ganapathy, Lily Thomson, Louise Jameson, Ludomyr Kemp-Mykyta, Natasha Mohamed & Zadie Kennedy McCracken

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