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THEATRE: 27 FEBRUARY 2015

By SANDRA BOWDEN

Blue Wizard, by Nick Coyle | Dramaturg: Adena Jacobs

Belvoir, in association with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras | Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre | Until 15 March.

Even before Nick Coyle bursts onto stage, there is amusement to be had: watching the audience enter, falter at the mirrored floor, step cautiously on to it, glance up at the mirrored ceiling, and then gaze at the marvellous chaos around them.

When Coyle created Blue Wizard — the tale of an alien wizard from an all-gay planet crashing to Earth and trying to find his way home — he wanted to make “the gayest one-man show ever”. Apart from not being able to see a feather boa anywhere, I think he just might have succeeded. Cher — check. Mirror ball — check. Meryl Streep reference — check.

This isn’t just a bit of Mardi Gras dazzle, however. Underpinning the glitz come moments of poignancy and power, as Coyle’s wizard wrestles with isolation, grief and this strange world. The final moments are genuinely affecting — still funny, but with a sense of strength and hope that actually brought a bit of a lump to the throat and an urge to cheer.

Coyle is a compelling fusion of energy, charm, versatility and humour. To hold an audience for an hour is a pretty daunting task, yet he weaves a story that rides from high camp to pathos, all the time kitted out in an outrageous blue wig, sequinned hot pants and cape. His puppetry, which at times was hilarious and bizarre, drew audible gasps when things take an unexpected turn.

The creative team of Adena Jacobs (dramaturg), Ralph Myers (design), Damien Cooper (lighting) and Steve Toulmin (sound) have collaborated with Coyle’s vision to create a trippy hour of music, dance, sparkles, puppetry and fabulousness.

In the creator’s note, Coyle lists his own reasons for going to the theatre, all of which are there for the enjoyment in Blue Wizard: magic, miracles, wonder, knowledge, solace, love, wine. The wine you’ll have to purchase yourself in the foyer — for the rest, just take that bold step onto the mirrored floor.

Image: Lisa Tomasetti