Don’t look back…
By Myron My
The thing I love about Attic Erratic productions is that each new offering is so diverse and different to what they have previously performed. From Choir Girl to Domino, and now The City They Burned: an immersive theatre experience that is a modern retelling of Lot and the fall of Sodom.
We are invited into Lot’s house for dinner and drinks; we are his friends and work colleagues. There is, however, a sense that something unsettling is afoot as we are greeted by his daughters, Thamma and Pheine (Shoshannah Oks and Brianagh Curran). The two women create a tense environment with their demeanour, attitudes and looks, in particular Oks, whose stare was so confronting I often had to look away.
The rest of the cast are more than impressive with their roles, including Scott Gooding as Lot and Jessica Tanner as his wife Ado, who remarkably shines most in her catatonic state in the second act. So convincing and powerful were the performances that during intermission, two police officers arrived, having been contacted by a nearby resident concerned at the “disturbances” they were hearing.
Fleur Kilpatrick’s script is an engrossing story and even though my knowledge of Lot and Sodom was limited I was transfixed by the unfolding events. The first act is a unique experience for audience members as we are free to roam around the lounge room set and see and hear different conversations, and moments. Even with the interaction with the actors, we are silent witnesses to the depravity and carnage that is building up. The second act is more conventional in its delivery but the intensity being conveyed by the actors is palpable.
Rob Sowinski is to be commended for such authentic set designs for both acts. They are able to support and strengthen the mood created by the acting and writing, and a lot of detail has been put into their creation.
As a side note, I think it was a great initiative of Attic Erratic to hold a “pay what you can” performance on the evening I attended, which allowed for the production to take place with audiences that otherwise might not have been able to attend.
Attic Erratic seems to be more and more synonymous with creating brave new theatre experiences for audiences and under the direction of artistic director, Danny Delahnuty, The City They Burned is most definitely this.
Venue: Cavern Table Performance Space, 127b Campbell St, Collingwood
Season: Until 23 September | Monday 8:00pm
Tickets: $24 Full | $21 Conc until 16 Sept; $27 Full | $24 Conc between 18-23 Sept (as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival)