Review by Tatum Stafford
From the minute we were ushered into the Blue Room’s intimate Studio theatre, it was clear we were in for one hell of a ride. Walking straight into a very realistic bunker (designed with impeccable detail by Owen Davis); adorned with nostalgic David Bowie, Beatles, and Freddie Mercury paraphernalia, was eerie and effective.
The setting feels apocalyptic to the max, and the premise of the play follows suit. We are soon introduced to three siblings, Holly, Carrie, and Marcus, who have been sent to live underground by the government after a breakout of the deadly ‘virus X’, which has tragically taken their father’s life. We are told this in the play’s opening moments, via a talking head-style reality TV clip, which lets each sibling tell their side of every story that plays out during the piece.
Throw in Rich, a mysterious man who came from ‘above’ (a la an intruder in The Bachelor mansion) and the story began to unfurl. Without giving too much of the plot away, fans of twists, turns and suspense will be in for a real treat.
The play was written and directed by Terence Smith, who is no stranger to the Perth theatre community, and has done an exceptional job at crafting such a relatable piece of theatre in such a somewhat unrelatable scenario (and one that I hope will remain unrelatable). There is so much heart, love and deep care imbued into these characters, particularly the only male sibling Marcus, who appears beautifully misunderstood for much of the story.
Performances by the four actors in the cast were very strong, and displayed incredible chemistry. Bubble Maynard was commanding yet compassionate as oldest sibling Holly, Bianca Roose was cheeky and charming as Carrie, and Liam Longley gave a heart-felt and beautiful performance as Marcus. Props also to Bianca’s costume design and make-up skills, which were put to good use to give Marcus an iconic look from Bowie’s back catalogue. Joe Haworth rounded out the cast superbly, and gave a very layered performance as outsider Rich.
AV and sound played key roles within the piece, and Peter Townsend did a fantastic job at blending the show’s technical elements seamlessly and interestingly, particularly with the ‘buffering’ effect on the TV footage. Lighting by Jolene Whibley was perfectly atmospheric, and well utilised throughout the performance.
Above all, this captivating show put human resilience, strength and compassion at the forefront. It certainly packs a punch, and its team of local theatre makers should be commended on the calibre of work they are presenting to Perth theatregoers.
Image Credit: Peter Townsend