Respectable Thief – where to begin exactly? This is a work which is as much layered as it is a superficial and visceral experience that skirts around a concept, never quite giving to us, the full picture. Powerful, evocative and immersive, each element here works in duality to present a vision that has evidently been granted time enough to develop.

The words of Nástio Mosquito cut deep, loaded with subtle commentary on the social and political spectrum of the world in 2017. Not only do the words of this amazing performer resonate, but his physicality vocals and attitude go almost too far, toe-ing a precarious line between art and arrogance. Self assurity only works when the performance is good enough to carry such bravado, and Respectable Thief is more than good enough.

The lighting and video, both the work of Nástio Mosquito and key collaborator Vic Pereiró are both heavily stylised, and this approach results in a visual continuity on par with the best. It’s hard not to draw parallels by the work of Chunky Move in recent years with Complexity of Belonging and Lucid as two good examples. But what makes this work different is it’s honesty, the way it presents as both a polished and unpolished thing. The narrative is almost intangible yet you know it’s there, the rhythm and the sharp manner in which each following scene proceeds, giving this performance enough momentum to propel the whole thing towards closing scenes. The comedic elements and interaction with the audience also two clever components which further cement a connection. 

The soundtrack to the work is awesome, loud and bashful, littered at times with the faintest hint of synth hooks and the kind of beats that have you re-listening to a song many times over. In fact, this is the kind of performance you could revisit several times only to rediscover something new upon each return.

Arts House has this past week chosen to present two very similar works, with Tales Of An Afronaut also enjoying a debut season. The only suggestion to be put forward is to witness both of these works back to back, with the above mentioned performance offering the perfect opening accompaniment. The team behind the presentation of works at this note worth Melbourne institution continue to impress. If other venues would be so bold, then Melbourne would continue to mature as a respected place where multiculturalism and inclusion are a given.

See this work while you can. For more info or to book you ticket click here