Written by Pete Malicki, Directed by Alison Albany
Where: Italian Cultural Forum, Leichhardt
When: 12th-29th of September
Reviewed by Lana Hilton
I have a love/hate relationship with plays that I find a little slow and without a clear purpose to begin with, but then finish on such a high I am left replaying it over in my mind hours later!
This was one of those productions.
“Room” follows the story of five strangers who wake trapped in a room with no recollection of how and why they are there. The stage is minimalistic, the clothing plain and there are no special lighting or sound effects; this gives the realistic impression that this could happen in ordinary life, to ordinary people, like you and me.
Each character has their own very believable insecurities which the actors portray exceedingly well. There is the Gen-Y joker, the horror-movie loving conspiracy theorist, the sensible and caring mother, the ‘has issues’ commander and the young and innocent girl.
Sounds just like someone you know, right?
The first half is a little slow as the characters go through the paces of anger, confusion and sadness. There is lots of yelling which is intermittently interrupted when poisonous gas leaks into the room causing them all to fall asleep.
This somewhat repetitive cycle is broken as soon as the lights go up on the second half. The audience is thrust forward four months and we find the characters healthy, happy and some even taking on different personas. In order to adapt to their messed-up psychological experiment, the two men and three women have decided that expressing themselves creatively is the key to surviving their situation.
In fantastic soap opera style they perform skits, have accents and have the audience in fits of laughter; but beneath it all is a deeper meaning. Look at what they have succumbed to in order to survive. Look at what they have become. It might appear amusing but slowly their mental states are dwindling and soon they can’t remember who they are anymore.
This play explores human reactions to ridiculous circumstances and poses questions as to what might arouse within us if we had no choice. A scary thought.
Go and see it and be prepared to lose sleep over it.