Tag Archives: Theatre 503

Review of The Dark Room – 5 Stars

Dark

The Dark Room

Theatre 503

Reviewed – 13th November 2017

★★★★★

“raises issues that are still prevalent today and are much closer to home”

 

There’s something sinister about quiet, shabby motel rooms. Something lonely, something that’s not quite right. They are the sort of places you may end up in when there are no options left. Angela Betzien’s work left me utterly heartbroken, her interweaving storylines reuniting to form a completely tragic story.


We meet three sets of characters: troubled, erratic and suicidal young Grace and her carer Anni, policeman Stephen with his pregnant wife Emma and lastly Stephen’s boss Craig who is joined by Joseph, a young man in a wedding dress. The production cleverly transitions between one group of characters and the next, never leaving the motel room. From the word go, everything moves very fast.

During the opening scene we are left desperately guessing why the young woman in front of us insists on wearing a bag over her head, yelling at her companion – and why does she hide a kitchen knife under the mattress? Has she been abducted? Is she safe?

Annabel Smith (Grace) truly encapsulates a young woman with many, many demons and a lot of internal suffering. From her emotional bitterness to her physical violence, Grace’s character is unpredictable and at times very frightening. Smith fills the audience with unease, we really don’t know where her mood will take us next.

Both Stephen (Tamlyn Henderson) and Craig (Alasdair Craig) move about the stage in a guilty, secretive bubble of awkwardness. Which one of them has done something unspeakable? Perhaps the ghost of the young man in the wedding dress has something to do with it.

The eerie lighting (Will Monks) added a touch of horror – I have lost count of the amount of scary movies that take place in similar hotels – and during the scenes where we are plunged into darkness, we can only speculate as to what awaits when the lights come up.

With a pleasingly shabby motel set by Jemima Robinson and smooth direction from Audrey Sheffield, The Dark Room is a thrilling eye-opener. It may be based on Australia’s shadowy history of ill treatment of its own society’s most vulnerable, but it raises issues that are still prevalent today and are much closer to home .

Reviewed by Stephanie Legg

Photography by Alex Brenner

 

 

THE DARK ROOM

is at Theatre 503 until 2nd December

 

 

Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

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Review of In the Event of Moone Disaster – 5 Stars

Moone

In the Event of Moone Disaster

Theatre 503

Reviewed – 9th October 2017

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

“Rosie Wyatt is captivating. Lively, fragile and engaging.”

 

 

On the night of the moon landing, Sylvia Moone has an encounter with an astronaut that has a ripple effect for those closest to her. Winner of the 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award, Andrew Thompson’s In Event of Moone Disaster is a comedy about space exploration very much grounded in the reality of family life. Spanning nearly a century, 3 generations deal with the consequences of looking to the stars.

Theatre 503 rarely disappoint and once again they have delivered an auspicious and beautiful new play to the stage. This is an accomplished and charming debut from Andrew Thompson. The story weaves seamlessly through its many time jumps, depicting a family in flux as each generation pushes and pulls against the aspirations it inherits. It’s a coherent, touching and funny glimpse at how dreams of greatness can impact the ordinary, that’s not afraid to take a few satirical swipes at current issues in its future view.

Technically the show is beautiful, a minimal set (designer Sarah Beaton) that uses lights and sound to create the atmospheres of the different periods very effectively. The direction (Lisa Spirling) is clean keeping the focus squarely on the character’s connections throughout. The play is also playful in its style, switching between sci-fi and domestic. My only niggle was Julie’s (Alicya Eyo) direct address to the audience. While it was a great speech performed beautifully, I’m still not sure what purpose it served other than to make 2017 seem a little alien.

As both daydreamer Sylvia and her granddaughter facing a fantastical reality, Rosie Wyatt is captivating. Lively, fragile and engaging, she invites the audience to share Sylvia’s fantasy even when the reality becomes painfully clear. Will Norris as Neil gives an earnest and sympathetic take on a man obsessed with family, even when his tactics take a turn for the bullish, offset beautifully by Eyo’s pragmatic Julie. In multiple roles, Dar Dash impresses giving poignancy to the ending. But for me, it was Thomas Pickles’ Dennis who has the heart of the play. Goofy, hapless and out of his depth, its heartbreaking to see his bumbled attempts at doing the right thing repeatedly be met with rejection, and the vulnerability in Pickles performance makes the scene between him and Norris devastating.

Overall, this an exciting and confident production, once again affirming that Theatre 503 is the fringe’s new writing King.

 

Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Jack Sain

 

 

IN THE EVENT OF MOONE DISASTER

is at Theatre 503 until 28th October

 

 

Click here to see a list of the latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

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