Patrizia Paolini, What Else?

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

Patrizia Paolini is very funny. In What Else?, directed by Jon Hough of Ridiculusmus, she tells stories of moments when she ‘died’: when she felt she did not exist, or when a part of her stopped functioning. It provokes us to think about what it means to be alive. Her comic timing is great, and every now and then she erupts into joyous lunacy.

But the show, for all its vibrancy, has a lack of structural cohesion. Her theatrical devices come in stages: a live soundscape, then a vibrant mime sequence against an under-exploited kitchen backdrop (what metaphor is strong enough to carry this ‘life and death’ theme?), and finally an otherworldly but text-laden sequence with her face in a wreath.

She is on the threshold of discovering her own genre. It’s like an intelligent, atmospheric, stand-up comedy without jokes – in a theatrical space; a little reminiscent of Ursula Martinez’s style in Family Outing. Like Martinez and others, she plays with ‘reality’ on stage – her (carefully scripted?) foreigner’s linguistic mistakes keep you guessing as to what is for real and what is performance.

We are ready for these ideas to be unified and linked, and to let this strong personality lead us somewhere – not necessarily to a conclusion, but on a journey we can follow with a sense of progression or transformation. Patrizia Paolini has a lot of ideas and the skill to execute them, so rather than asking herself ‘What else?’ she might ask ‘What have I discovered here?’ and do more of it.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 27