FRINGEWORLD: Inside We Hide (4.5 stars)

Review by Brandon Taylor

A chipper audience funnels into the Blue Room Theatre, chatting easily after a good day’s work and drink at the bar. They turn a few corners, the merry din of the Fringe outside losing itself amongst the Blue Room’s stark black walls. The crowd’s exuberant air survives this and also, somewhat eerily, the fact that they all have to step over a dead body to get to their seats.

Dimming lights soon force the focus to that body – it’s a woman’s – twisted amongst coils of thick, dirty rope and surrounded by rancid piles of junk and burlap sacks. A sense of claustrophobia settles in with the silence. And then, a figure emerges from a corner lost in darkness. She’s comically nonchalant, appearing every bit the homicidal sociopath as she saunters over to the body and begins peeling a potato onto the corpse. This gets a giggle from the uneasy crowd, but it’s shattered as the body jerks to life, gasping and screeching “Where am I?” “What is this?” “What did you do to me?”

Inside we Hide proceeds to darken from this point onwards. The audience joins three strangers trapped together in an impenetrable box as the constant fear of death forces them into hysterics for the duration of the play.
Reminiscent of the Saw series, the captives are being watched. They’re forced by a twisted entity to inflict physical and psychological pain on themselves and each other as they try to satisfy its puzzling requests. Through their desperate attempts to work out why all this is happening and how to get out alive, the three dissect each other, digging deep into what we learn are complicated personal hells hiding inside each of them.

The acting is clever, the action riveting, and the literal and metaphorical suspense throughout will wear out the edge of your seat. Little nuts of comedy sprinkled in serve not to cheapen, but realise the secret darknesses of humanity that Inside we Hide explores. Audiences leaving this intense performance may not be as chipper as those that enter, but that won’t be for lack of entertainment.

When: 9 – 13 February, 2016 (6:30pm)

Where: The Blue Room Theatre

Tickets: $15 – $20

Info: Duration 60 minutes, Suitable 15+