After arriving at Murdoch University and then spending 30 minutes in the pouring rain to find the theatre, (Directional signs needed please!) when I finally found the theatre I whispered to my wife, “this better be good”. It was!
“Next” is the title given to a performance of three one act plays written and directed by Scott McArdle and performed at the elusive Studio 411 at Murdoch University. Comprising of two performance spaces this venue is perfect (at least from the audiences perspective) for this type of production.
Mr McArdle has gathered together a collaborative team of talented and enthusiastic Murdoch students to bring the works to performance.
“The Room Downstairs”: Presented in the style of a radio play, complete with sound effects, this was an original concept which was impressive and intriguing. It was interesting to watch and listen to. The neighbour upstairs gives us a glimpse of her days and nights as a nurse, a risky enough occupation nowadays, let alone the risks she takes as a single woman travelling to and from her home. Downstairs her vulnerable neighbour meets a grim end at the hands of a psychotic male. A grim story of suspense and terror, well acted.
“Chicken Rock”: A ghost story set in a lighthouse on an island off the (I presume) Scottish coast, this was a fine piece of dramatic theatre. Rosie Jones and Laughton Mckenzie are two promising young actors, evenly matched, who gave excellent performances in their roles. This play was my favourite of the three. Congratulations to the set designer Sam Know and set builder Andre David, the set was perfect.
“Hail Satan”: This was such an interesting and eclectic mix of performance art. Described as a “rollercoaster of themes and topics and politics”, it certainly was and I loved it. Gathering together to commemorate the anniversary of their friend’s violent death, this group of Millennials, reveal in all manner of ways, issues that concern them, as well as their connection to the deceased girl. Told with humour and pathos the play moves along at a fast pace to the poignant ending.
There can be danger when the director and writer is one and the same person. Objectivity is in danger of being lost. Not so on this occasion. Mr McArdle was able to elicit high quality performances from the actors and combining them with the sound, lighting and set design it was first rate standard for these three plays. As a Baby Boomer I am heartened by the quality of these Millennials. The future of theatre is in good hands. An entertaining and thought provoking night. As an audience member we don’t ask for much more