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Review: Frame Narrative at The Old Fitz Theatre 

Review by Michelle Sutton 

Frame Narrative presented by New Ghosts Theatre Company at the Old Fitz Theatre is a play about the cost, creation and interpretation of art. Based on a story about a Frankenstein adaptation, audiences should expect tributes to gothic horror, wildly entertaining scenes between talented actors and to be prompted to reflect on the weight of sacrifices made for art and questions of who owns and controls a story once it’s out in the world. 

Set designer Soham Apte has done an incredible job to transform the stage at the intimate Old Fitz Theatre. The set changes and evolves as the show does, never allowing the audience to be too sure of what they are actually seeing for very long. Lighting designed by Spencer Herd also plays an integral part in achieving this effect, at times heightening the thriller elements of the production and at others bringing the audience into daylight and a moment of reprieve. In Frame Narrative, the audience quickly realises that they cannot be sure of what is meant to represent a real place and what is meant to be part of a set. 

Frame Narrative is constantly surprising whilst telling a timeless tale. It conjures up feelings of horror, dread, disgust, fear and relief. Emily Sheehan’s script is special and exquisitely crafted. Her knack for witty dialogue is impressive. Director Lucy Clements brings the rich script to life, presenting a story that is engaging and captivating. With a runtime of over an hour and a half with no interval, the pace of the play remains fast and frantic leaving no room for the audience to lose interest. Tension burns between the characters and the anticipation is palpable. Emily Sheehan does not give the audience every answer, letting them interpret as they like. Clements does justice  to this, allowing the play to challenge without feeling the need to coddle the audience. 

The talented cast works wonderfully together with explosive chemistry and intensity. Madeline Li is intelligent and unpredictable as Elsa, Megan O’Connell is compelling as tortured Angelica and Charles Upton is delightful as sometimes sympathetic, sometimes condescending Hendrick. Emma Wright plays a nervous playwright with a vulnerability that is separate to the other characters. Jennifer Rani is equal parts terrifying and funny as acclaimed film director Margot, who is hoping to make a splash on the European film festival circuit with her adaptation. 

Frame Narrative is a bold, original and compelling play. It is a sure stand out amongst current theatre offerings in Sydney in its willingness to push boundaries and assume intelligence and curiosity from its audience. It is sure to be a hit with lovers of theatre and film and anyone who truly appreciates the art and creation of a good story. It will have you on the edge of your seat and then make you laugh in the next moment. The quality of writing by Emily Sheehan, directing by Lucy Clements and the work of the cast is all of the highest calibre with magnificent results. I highly recommend everyone gets to The Old Fitz Theatre to experience Frame Narrative. 

Image Supplied


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