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Review: When Night Comes at The Austral

Review by Jessica Flynn

‘When Night Comes’ is another thrilling immersive theatre experience from Broad Encounters. Step into the realm of a secret society where the line between spectator and participant blurs amidst a swirl of cocktails and intrigue. Transcending convention, you are guided through a labyrinth of rooms that each uncover a new piece of the puzzle for you to decode…

Broad Encounters always know how to create an experience that assaults all of your senses. The set was meticulous and each room was beautifully suited to the vibe of each character, complete with stunning costumes and make up, even down to neon orange nails. Something unique to the ‘When Night Comes’ experience compared to other Broad Encounter shows I had been to was the use of smell. Each room had a very distinct scent that took you straight into the atmosphere of the room as you walked in and soaked in the details.

The cast performances are a testament to the talent and dedication of the ensemble. Each actor embodies their character with depth and nuance, delivering dialogue that ranges from poignant dreamy soliloquies to witty repartee with equal finesse. Their ability to improvise and respond to the audience's reactions adds an element of spontaneity that keeps the experience fresh and unpredictable. Meg Hickey delivered a particularly outstanding performance in her role where she showed her knack for singing, comedy and making the audience comfortable throughout their interactions.

There was a loose plot throughout the evening but I think the show is more of an elaborate themed cocktail bar. This is not a criticism, I enjoyed being whisked away to a light and enthralling underground world for an evening.

Throughout the evening, cocktails serve not only as refreshment but almost like characters themselves. Each libation and its vessel is thoughtfully paired with the themes and emotions of the scenes it accompanies, enhancing the sensory experience and deepening the connection between guests and characters. You are also able to select a non-alcoholic option as well that looks equally delicious.

The experience itself is completely guided by the characters, but there are a few other ways to choose your own adventure. There is an option for ‘VIP’ tickets, which entitles you to a much more interactive experience and to seats at each of the rooms. If you prefer to hide in the shadows and be more of an observer, of course opting out of the VIP ticket is a better option. Unfortunately there was quite a clear delineation between the ticket holders and it was at times disruptive to the performance as the actors looked for the ‘mark’ of the VIP’s to ensure they got more attention.

Overall, “When Night Comes” is a fun night out experience to try with a few friends. Be prepared for strong drinks, a few sexy surprises and some entrancing performances. Every night will be unique as it is heavily influenced by the audience reactions so I look forward to returning to see it evolve!

Image Credit: Jeff Busby


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