Bingo Unit | Team Mess

Grab a badge, jacket and gun, and step into a TV crime drama


There are two sorts of people in the world: those who hate prime-time crime dramas, and those who love them.

About Bingo Unit

Team MESS have devised a new participatory performance work that caters for both, and invite audiences to play the game and create the narrative of a television crime drama in their own neighbourhood.

Over the course of a short residency, Team MESS work with a local presenter, and their audience or community members, to shoot an imaginary new television crime drama.  In pre-production, five scenes are shot on location, with up to twenty or so takes per day made with individual participants or groups, each recording their take on one of five iconic crime show scenes.

Audiences are invited to don a jacket, a badge, a gun and a holster – to play their part in creating the show’s narrative, mess with genre fiction formulae & cliches, or just have a great time playing cops and robbers.  Be the person who discovers the body! Stake out a suspect’s house, watching through the windscreen over coffee and donuts! Brief the police team on the evidence! And arrest the suspect, when he shows up at the funeral!  Or stay behind the camera, and film it all taking place.

Following the shoots, the public performance season takes the form of a Warner Brothers style back-lot-tour to watch the hilarious footage, uncover the magic and machinations of the filming process, and to piece together the puzzle.


“Bingo Unit, presented by Team MESS, was one of the hits of the Next Wave Festival.”
– Herald Sun, 16 July 2012

If my over-zealous tweets were anything to go by, I loved this work. BINGO Unit is clever, witty and relevant.
– The Near & The Elsewhere, 26 May 2012

Production Notes

Bingo Unit is available as a residency project. Members of the public are invited to participate in five scenes:  The Discovery of the Body, Informing the Mother, The Evidence Brief, The Stakeout, and The Arrest, which can be shot and edited over five days.

The public performance is structured as a back-lot-tour of an imaginary film studio. It features thirteen stations, each representing a scene in the crime show episode, which the audience view by moving from station to station at their own pace.  The pre-shot scenes are complemented by other pre-produced material, and several live scenes, some of them also including audience involvement as detectives interviewing a suspect, or as participants in an identification line-up. The final Courtroom scene is presided over by a local actor or celebrity – in the Melbourne premiere, it was Logie-winning actor John Wood, of Blue Heelers fame.

Production History

Premiered at Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, May 2012.  Sydney Season at Carriageworks presented by Performance Space, July 2013.

Photography Credits

Photography by Heidrun Löhr