Songs for a New World – An Ultimate Experience (5 Stars)

Opening night for Songs for a new world at Chapel off Chapel was full house for the robust talents of its cast. Natalie O’Donnell, Linden Furnell, Teagan Wouters and John O’Hara lent the lushness of their voices to the sombre, playful and abstract musical.

With the sizzling accompaniment of musical director Geoffrey Castle’s titillating harmonies, contemporary vignettes tugged the heart and mind in a production that spew haze, smoke and strobe illumination. The sound and lighting creatives realised a phenomenal accomplishment in rendering the best form of director Luke Joslin’s vision in a song cycle that was awe-upon-awe in the intimate setting of a loft.

If you are familiar with the story cycle in the literary world, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American authors adapted and expanded the short story to relay subversive ideas without alienating the audience. Narratives are held together by the arrangement of stories, thematic ties or collective protagonists, where a set of related tales constitute a closed and sufficient unit. This was the calibre of rare beast that producers Joshua Robson and Damien Bermingham unleashed in an astonishing premier of the human condition.

It is lockout policy at Chapel off Chapel so, when in for a show, hang around with agreeable staff at the bar and box office, unwind with a cider, sparkly, red or white as you wait for sparks to begin. There’s a choice of fruit-flavoured fizz for the teetotallers and cabaret festival trailers in the background for the visuals, not to mention beguiling posters upfront on the wall towards the loft where theatre unveils for the eager.

The throng was eager but unrehearsed for the energy and newness of each act in a poignant rendition of the choices humans make in Songs for a new world. Clap, clap, clap. Encore, encore…

More information about the musical production at