Review by Hannah Fredriksson
What happens when The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse are fired from their day jobs and sent to live among mortals in the heart of suburbia? It’s a question that’s been plaguing mankind since the dark ages – but don’t worry, Kind Regards Productions have brought this insightful look into the lives of these infamous characters to this year’s Fringe World Festival line up.
The stage area of After Dark was decked out like your typical low-budget share-house living room, with mismatched cushions and flat-pack furniture vibes. The stage area is level with the audience so you feel really close to all the action.
The audience is introduced to Conquest, Famine, War and Death, who live in (relative) harmony in their 5 bedroom house in the suburbs. Morale is low and they all seem a bit dejected by their lack of purpose. They also have financial problems and decide to put an enticing ad out for a new human housemate to help pick up the slack.
Conquest plays the role of the well-dressed narcissistic leader of the group who always has a phone in his hand. He’s played with just the right amount of cockiness and underlying insecurity.
War is a blokey guy who is always working out, and despite being responsible for many well-known wars (except the war on drugs) is actually quite a reasonable housemate. He doesn’t come across as intimidating, rather a gentle giant.
Famine seems to be constantly responsible for a lack of food in the house. She’s fashionable but also tough, taking no bullshit from anyone. She commands the room and always make sure her opinion is heard.
Death seems to be at the bottom of the food chain, being delegated all the worst tasks and teased relentlessly by his fellow horsemen, yet he completes all his tasks quickly and without complaint. He’s shown to be reserved compared to the other horsemen, but is super polite and sweet to newcomer Rose. The parts where he breaks out yelling in frustration are some of the funniest moments of the show.
Rose joins them as their new human housemate. Her presence is really sweet and earnest, trying to bring the housemates together and making sure the chores are divided fairly. She sees Death’s kindness while everyone else is dismissive of him, and they start to form a bond. It’s not long before the other Horsemen start to pick on her too, but this time Death and Rose have each other.
The costuming is simple but still clearly defines who each character is. Though we first see the horsemen with black cloaks, they then reveal to be wearing modern clothes that match their personalities. Rose in a light sundress, Conquest in a collared shirt and suit pants, and Death in a casual t-shirt and jeans.
Strobe lighting is used to interesting effect to mark transitions between dimensions, although the strobe light is angled straight into the left side of the audience and would flicker at random times which was almost blinding.
The Four Horsemen of Suburbia is an interesting interpretation of what these biblical characters could be like when plopped into an urban context, it’ll have you laughing and ‘aw’ing while rooting for the underdogs as they find love in a hopeless place.