Theatre Review: "The Inconsequential Lives of Little Fish" is dark but important
Standing in the freezer section with a packet of frozen fish, it can be easy to give ourselves permission to gloss over the country of origin label. With the mind-boggling array of social causes we should be caring about, our gut instinct seems to be to shut off to any new drains on our reserves of empathy. In a theatre, you don’t have the advantage of being able to turn away. The Inconsequential Lives of Little Fish explores the horrific forced labor trade that sources the large bulk of Australian seafood.
Buoyed by two confronting and commanding performances (and a small but enchanting theatre debut), Little Fish is a perfect example of socially woke theatre that forces us to confront our complicity. Each heart-wrenching climax was enunciated precisely through powerful physical performances by Sam Hayes and Frieda Lee.
The clearly tight-knit production team features eclectic sound design from Isaac Diamond. The recurring musical theme had a gorgeous warbly tremolo that harked of plucked Asiatic strings. The set design was minimalistic but not barren. Every prop served an important purpose in sticky moments I never would have expected to see in a live theatre production.
Although the denouement provides us with some positive emotional pay-off, the confronting moments still find a way to seep in. Do not expect any comedic moments to properly land in this dark story, this is too important of a message to allow the audience respite. Like a herbal tea after a rich meal, the damage has been done and you’re left to wallow in your gluttony.
The Inconsequential Lives of Little Fish is an important, well-researched, and beautifully told story, but I’ve learn to expect nothing less of a Blue Room production. Catch it this September.