CAUTION WET FLOOR
Presented by: Brick Haus Productions NZ
Directed by: Genoveva Reverte
Te Auaha, 21st Feb 2023
Reviewed by: Kate Morris
Grab your passport and turn on your out-of-office, we’re heading to the airport. And you won’t even need to queue for security. Winner!
It’s Christmas Eve and we are introduced to Francis (Jackson Burling), a loveable but lonely airport cleaner. While scrubbing floors and cleaning up explosive post-curry messes, he dreams of a life where he is in the spotlight. We accompany Francis in his reverie away from this less-than glamorous existence, transported ourselves to a fantastical life of romances, far-off islands and numerous prestigious accolades for ‘best cleaner’ (seven nominations and seven wins, naturally).
As each new daydream unfolds, we can’t help but be swept away by the loveable character and his fantasies. The world Francis builds is so engaging that when reality inevitably comes crashing back, punctuated by every berating phone call from his boss, it’s not just Francis that has to wake up and smell the er… let’s say roses… coming from the toilet cubicle. The audience feels that deflation too.
Burling is such a stunning performer. He has an incredible command of his physical range and comic precision that will make you laugh and then break your heart in two seconds flat. This is most evident during a glimpse of Francis at, arguably, his truest self. He is at home, alone, no longer a cleaner nor living in his imagination. Just simply watching an episode of The Chase and heating up leftovers. An impactful and beautiful juxtaposition to the comic unfolding of Francis’ escapist fantasy, and yet so relatable – haven’t we all wished for something more?
There is little dialogue, but Burling’s impeccable physicality and expression, accompanied by the selective soundtrack and creative lighting (Genoveva Reverte), speak volumes. The synchronicity of these elements keeps the piece engaging from start to finish.
Brick Haus Productions are quickly becoming known for their thought-provoking work that asks us to think of our relationships with ourselves, our communities, and one another. CAUTION WET FLOOR is no exception.