Theatre of Abandon (FRINGEWORLD 2015)

Review by Laura Money

Theatre of Abandon as presented by Abandon Theatre Players is a self-confessed “revolutionary new style of theatre, theory and actor training. A theatre without the play!” Walking in to The Velvet Lounge all that is there are two rows of seats facing each other in gallery style. There are a few other random seats scattered about but it is obvious that the action will not be taking place on the built in stage, but in the space that would traditionally be the aisle. Abandon Theatre Players are, however, anything but traditional. Yet it is the traditions of theatre that they draw upon to create the vignettes they present as a 21st century spin on four thousand years of theatre.

The scenes are confusing as they don’t follow a linear structure. This is done in a Brechtian way but seem to be a little unpolished. The cast are truly amazing in their capacity to recite the sheer volume of lines they have learned, however it did feel that this was the main achievement, rather than bringing their characters to life. Everything is covered – from Greek theatre, to Shakespeare, to Tennessee Williams and revolutionary orators.

The concept of bringing to an audience the bare bones of theatre without the trappings of the actual stage is cleverly brought to life through the use of roving lighting. The other actors hold torches and spotlights and follow the actors in a hand-held camera fashion creating a frenzy that heightens the drama of the scenes unfolding. Theatre of Abandon is a great concept that is almost there and is acted competently. Special mention goes to the Australian bogan rendition of Macbeth and the interwoven speeches of great thinkers and revolutionaries during the revolution scene.

Theatre of Abandon is playing at The Velvet Lounge as part of Perth’s FRINGEWORLD 2015 from the 3rd – 8th February.