Review: NOA at La Mama

Interesting possibilities end up all at sea

By Myron My

I love it when there is something unique or different about a performance and when we were asked which way we would like to enter the stage, I thought that NOA would be one of those experiences. We could enter the conventional way or go up some stairs, down a ladder and be led to our seats in the dark.

There was much anticipation about what was about to transpire as everyone got seated and the performance began. Unfortunately, for the next 45 minutes I sat there often confused, sometimes uninterested and ultimately left wondering about too many things.

NOA

NOA attempted to look at themes of loss, friendship and survival, yet I struggled to find any definitive moments where any of these were explored. Excluding the last few minutes of the show, we were witness to two siblings (Karen Sibbing and Joshua Ferenbach) playing different characters in short skit-like scenes, including Mike the Magician and his “amazing” 3 cans/2 coins trick but nothing particular came from any of this.

The flimsy plot revolves around Noa and his sister – who live inside a bunker built by Noa and are honing their survival skills for their own experiences. The character development was minimal at best and just when I thought we were going to get some idea as to why these characters were doing what they were doing it went back to the surreal character dress-ups. However I must say the commitment which the performers played their troubled characters was a highlight of NOA.

Eugyeene Teh’s set design was the other highlight. Much time and effort had gone into replicating a bunker and encapsulating its claustrophobic and tight environment. Lighting designer Amelia Lever-Davidson further amplified this sensation with her atmospheric changes from darkness through dullness to dazzling brightness.

Overall and unfortunately, NOA felt contrived and had a level of pretentiousness to it that prevented me from connecting with the piece. I appreciate that theatre should investigate unknown areas and be innovative and explorative but unlike Noah’s Ark, this ship sank very quickly for me.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street St, Carlton

Season: Until 21 December | Tues, Wed, Sun 6:30pm. Thu-Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Bookings: http://lamama.com.au

Advertisements