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Review: The Empire at the Actor's Hub

Review by Sophia Gilet

The Empire is 1 of 4 Shows put on this Fringe season by The actors hub for 4X4X4- 4 shows over 4 nights for 4 weeks.

The Empire is an intense show with many twists.

To begin with you get transported to world in the near future where Australia has continued to burn and we have been rescued by China. As our daily lives get worse our only escape comes in the form of a virtual reality game.

This shows asks if it is ok to be obsessed over a game and if it is worth handing our lives and power away to game producers and people who are selling to us.

Like all the shows of this Actors' Hub Fringe season this show is immersive from the get go.

There is no separation between the action on stage and you as an audience member. You are involved and even implicated in the events as they unfold.

The show begins with a man in a wheelchair who speaks to the audience about music and breath. While his monologue is captivating it is uncertain whether he is the good guy or bad guy and what you are doing here.

The show is a fast paced action filled extravaganza that has allies turning on each other and information that has the possibility of being able to destroy this country.

The Empire is packed to the brim with tragic backstories. You can see clearly why they fight as hard as they do. It's about survival.

Each character on stage is fighting for their life. Even when they joke there is a tension underlying the entire play which has you at the edge of the seat- beautifully set up by the opening address to the audience and Tim Newhouse's gripping score.

The show is set up and feels a lot like a movie. The story telling is gripping and the show has a sophisticated use of technology unlike anything else seen in Perth theatre so far.

It has more twists than a bag of twisties! It will have you gasping at edge of your seat and jumping with surprise.

This show will appeal to a particular audience and certainly held the attention of many of the young men who may not have found another show in Fringe World's season that was quite so much for them yet - Its filled with violence, death and virtual reality. Let's be honest, it's just really cool!

Mid-way through the show you are called on to participate in a vote that is something reminiscent of a Black Mirror episode. This choice can change the lives of the characters in front of you. And it's no easy choice to make - I was honestly so conflicted that even leaving the theatre I still felt the need to justify my choice to other audience members around me.

Go see this show. What will you choose?

Image Supplied

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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