Written and directed by Scott McArdle, this newly original play is set to innovate the sci-fi world, and finally bring this long time source of fascination and phenomena to the stage. Set on a spaceship long after the earth has drowned, there remains only one human survivor, Vincent, who is continuously accompanied by the on-board virtual intelligence system, Vi. Vincent lives in perfectly practical world, never having known another human. However when the ship begins to experience a series of unexplained technical failures, Vincent feels that he may not be all alone on the journey after all, and so he begins his search for the truth.
Walking into The Blue Room Theatre for the first preview of “Between Solar Systems”, was almost like being transported into another world. The intimacy of the theatre felt like one was sitting down to be with the characters on their journey, rather than simply watching actors on a stage. The set was small, and surprisingly detailed. A large television mounted on the back-wall frequently showing images of a spaceship’s inner workings, information relayed by Vi, sustaining the feeling that this was truly a real spaceship. Further details such as fans occasionally rotating in the background, electric wires snaking along poles, strategic lighting set up along the “ship’s” interior, aided further with the atmosphere. Set Designer, Sara Chirichilli and Lighting Designer, Scott McArdle (adding to his impressive list of roles) should be commended for an excellent lighting and set design. Furthermore, Sound Designer, Tim Brain should also be applauded for a faultless effort, the music and technological sound effects truly took the performance to an entirely different level.
Nick Maclaine as Vincent gave a stellar performance. His raw emotion and clear willingness to play and dedicate himself to the story was incredible. And despite almost never exiting the stage, his effervescent energy not once ceased to leave him. Emily David as The Woman also gave a notable performance, her enchanting presence and vulnerability drew the audience in, and she proved herself to be an extremely captivating story-teller. Jo Morris as the computer generated voice Vi, was the unseen star of the show. Using purely her voice to chastise, humour, belittle and comfort Vincent, with no other physical means to aid her, she truly gave an outstanding performance. The audience was able to sympathise with a completely alien voice, to whom they couldn’t place a face.
The plot of “Between Solar Systems” was very remarkable, written by Scott McArdle, it was an extremely conceptual and unique idea that took the audience on a tumultuous journey. However, at times some of the themes and concepts became unclear. Several of the ideas in the script seemed to be there for the sake of appearing interesting, without really aiding in continuing the plot. The writing was also at times a bit cliché and awkward, as if the author had originally intended for the piece to be read rather performed on a stage. With some tweaking and alterations however, this show could become truly an outstanding one.
It is packed to the brim with plot twists, enthralling set, lighting and sound designs, talented performances and a haunting, final message for audience members to appreciate and nurture our precious, fragile earth. Running at the Blue Room Theatre, with performances until the 26th of September, it is definitely a show not to miss. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.