Adelaide Reviews

Land & Sea

Brink Productions. Queen’s Theatre. 15 May 2012

Land can be born from the sea like South Pacific islands. And the sea’s water once ran off the land.  While land and sea seem obviously exclusive, on another level they are intertwined in unending processes where their boundaries are continuously and often cyclically transformed.  The creators of Land & Sea would say it’s also true of life.

Award-winning Australian playwright Nicki Bloom began with notions of transition, opposites and the teasing looping illusions of Escher drawings.  After numerous conversations with Brink creative director Chris Drummond, they brought together actors, musicians and designers to manifest and offer additional workshopped contributions in dialogue, body language, visualisations and sound.  Bloom’s script was ready for a (brief) four week rehearsal followed by Land & Sea’s world premiere on 12 May 2012 at the Queen’s Theatre.

The result is five acts of intriguing theatrical magic that asks you to leave your expectations of the traditional narrative form at the door.  Director Chris Drummond has once again holistically employed design elements to foster encompassing and completely engaging theatre.  While many scenes are absurdist, performers Rory Walker, Jacqy Phillips, Thomas Conroy and especially Danielle Catanzariti convey visceral emotional impact – an accomplishment under the circumstances.  I made connections with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Magritte paintings, the British War Museum, reincarnation, room service, la guerre, longing, and more.  The characters seem to live on in some way from one act to another in different circumstances, but always an element of yearning or incompleteness.

This is thought-provoking theatre and a refreshing alternative from the usual formats, imbued by Drummond, Wendy Todd (designer), Hilary Kleinig (music), and Geoff Cobham (lighting) with ephemeral beauty.

In the final tableau, a character reaches out with one hand with great intensity toward something, perhaps meaning, like I was.  But then I realised I didn’t have to find any meaning, there was nothing to do but enjoy the experience.  Or connect the dots, the choice is yours.  I wouldn’t miss it, but bring lots of warm clothes.

David Grybowski

When: 14 to 26 May
Where: Queen's Theatre