Featured Artist: Christopher Brown

Keith Gallach, Ghita Loebenstein

Christopher Brown, Mr Phase

Christopher Brown, Mr Phase

One of the hits of 2002 Next Wave was Christopher Brown’s virtuosic performance as Mr Phase. Phase is a kind of Kaspar Hauser for the 21st century, an innocent nurtured on the language of advertising and able to slip into the personae of media stars like Ali G with unconscious ease. Or, as the writers put it, “Just like the kid who grew up with the apes. But instead he grew up with the ads.” The half hour performance was co-written with technical director Thomas Howie and directed by Margaret Cameron whose meticulous approach to language is written all over Brown’s realisation of the dense, lateral text and its demanding gear changes. Mr Phase should travel, and a longer version would be welcome.

KG

Christopher Brown, Mr Phase

Christopher Brown, Mr Phase

“If one of the aims of Next Wave’s PrimeTime was to take postmodernism and media consciousness to the cleaners, then the star of tonight’s show was undeniably Mr Phase. Starring the indefatigable Christopher Brown this piece of ‘commercial theatre’ is a collage of standup, monologue and physical theatre. Devised by Brown and Thomas Howie, Mr Phase is a vehicle for comic warfare against all that is kitsch and disposable in the fourth estate. Brown’s performance is a complete montage of media iconography. From the contents of Nutri-grain cereal, to a meditation on love—‘the reason for it all’—or the lack thereof, he is cocky, languid and brave. He performs part of his monologue in his underwear and recycles punchy media-speak in an excellently crafted script. ‘Passion has no volume control,’ he professes during a meditation on sex, and then offers ‘be baked not fried’ as sound ad-savvy advice. The sound design by David Franzke helps to match the show’s fast pace with style and fluidity. Brown has definitely got it—Rove’s stage presence, Adam Spencer’s wry cynicism and the slapstick sillies of Adam Sandler. Keep your remotes on hand, it won’t be long before we’re seeing him on primetime.”

Ghita Loebenstein, RealTime-NextWave, May 2002

Christopher Brown is a writer-performer who graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts Drama School in 1997. He has worked with Arena Theatre Company, with the Other Tongue Theatre Company, and in film and television.

Mr Phase, performer-writer Christopher Brown, writer-technical director Thomas Howie, director-coach Margaret Cameron, sound design David Franzke, video design Adrian Hauser, choreographic assistance Cazerine Barry; PrimeTime, May 17-25, 2002 Next Wave.

RealTime issue #49 June-July 2002 pg. 11

© Keith Gallasch & Ghita Loebenstein; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 2002
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