Belinda Anderson-Hunt – The Sun and the Hermit

By Colin Flaherty 

The Sun and the Hermit is peculiar little show. Belinda Anderson-Hunt presents a collection of bizarre characters in what looks like the contents of a dusty deceased estate. Just like the work of David Lynch, whom she namechecks in her blurb, there is the feeling of the familiar in these creatures but something strange is lurking beneath the surface.

The characters she inhabits are simultaneously sweet and unsettling, each effortlessly brought to life with silly vocalisation and nuanced gestures. It is brilliant how she interacts with and reacts to the artificiality of the theatre space with some perfectly executed sound and lighting cues. The musical soundtrack features many enjoyable mood setting classical & jazz pieces that often threaten to drown out the words that she utters.

A deliberately paced show, Anderson-Hunt spends most of her time padding around the stage barefoot, putting on costumes and rearranging the props in a measured manner. We are occasionally allowed to titter and chuckle when this timid little creature drip feeds us the odd whimsical look or amusing quip. After taking her sweet time building up the tension each scene reaches a brilliantly satisfying crescendo, bringing forth much hilarity.  This is not done in a “hit you over the head with loud bombast” but with a kooky and surreal soul emerging from out of nowhere.

Gaulier trained Anderson-Hunt uses the hour to showcase her wonderful clowning skills, both in mime and manipulation of the many props placed around the stage. Even my companion, who is not particularly fond of theatrical clowning, found this performance intriguing and amusing. It certainly helps when the performer knows when to back off from those who do not wish to play.

Audience participation is key to this performance, which even extends to the back rows, as she wanders the room in search of people to play with. It is often difficult to comprehend what it is she actually wants from you with her gesturing without words, finally resorting to some verbal prodding to keep the story rolling along. Be warned that if you are seated up front it’s difficult to see what’s going on behind you without bodily contortion and the low lighting only adds to risk of missing out on some potential gems of comedy.

Even though this is Belinda’s MICF debut, this has already been honed at various Fringe Festivals around the country. What we have is a gentle theatrical experience in the hands of an accomplished performer that brings us to multiple climaxes of mirth. Bravo!

The Sun and the Hermit is on at The Motley Bauhaus until April 5