Review: You Aren't Doing It Wrong (If No One Knows What You're Doing)

A heartfelt look into an Australian woman's fear of failure.

Review: You Aren't Doing It Wrong (If No One Knows What You're Doing)

Rachel Blackman explores feelings of failure, family and music in a heartfelt solo performance. From a family of highly-gifted musicians, Blackman lays bare their attempts to teach her different instruments, and her rejection of each one. She has lived a very colourful life; an actress in her own right, Blackman eventually found her true calling in theatre.

The Dance Space makes for a fitting venue. Inside the building, I arrive and enter one of two studios on the ground floor. Its walls are entirely blank and white, almost reflecting the faces of the audience. Blackman takes advantage of this, using a projector to play videos. In a display of honest expression, she shows many things close to her heart - including her family’s creative outputs. Blackman and her family come from Australia, and one of Blackman’s brothers enjoys taking photographs of the outback. In a magical transformation, a once vacant wall becomes alive with images of a hot sunset and rocky deserts. 

The venue’s stage is plainly decorated with simple wooden furniture, a microphone and a washing line. At the end of the washing line are wires that are fashioned in the shape of an umbrella. Here is where Blackman hangs up objects - photos, childhood keepsakes - each representing a touching moment of her life. 

Her performance style is sweet and candid. Blackman gracefully twirls her body, each move delivered with the kind of purpose that comes with years of experience. I found myself engrossed by her storytelling, listening to her every word as if she were talking to me directly. 

With a sense of humour, Blackman looks back at her early years with self-depreciating charm. She recalls how she tried to learn ballet, but was told rather harshly by an instructor that she “moved like a duck”. At age ten, she’d firmly decided that she hates the flute. And at age sixteen, she was given a cello, but was more interested by boys than such a heavy instrument.To demonstrate the extent of her dislike, Blackman mimes carrying it, her face contorts into a comical grimace, as she slowly sways from side to side. 

So she may not have ever performed in an orchestra, but if I got the chance to speak to Blackman, I’d say she’s far too hard on herself. She’s a brilliant communicator, and her talents clearly flourish in the realm of theatre. The fear of failure is a common one, and her performance is sure to resonate with audiences.


Mimi Waters

Mimi Waters Voice Reviewer

I'm a budding writer who loves to review all sorts of wonderful things that happen in the heart of Brighton. With a deep interest in art and literature, I'm constantly seeking inspiration for new creative projects.

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