‘Flood’ Reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by January 21, 2014

‘Flood’ is a brand new play, written by WA actor and puppeteer, Chris Isaacs. With Tim Watts, Chris was a co-creator of ‘It’s Dark Outside’ (nominated for a 2013 Helpmann Award). He is a member of the prestigious Black Swan’s Emerging Writers’ Group and has had his writing mentored by WA author and playwright, Kate Mulvany.

This 80-minute, World Premiere runs nightly in the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre, Northbridge; performances are at 8.00 pm (6.00 pm and 10.00 pm on Friday nights) until Sunday 2nd February.

 

The seating is on three sides around the central stage. There is also a balcony on two sides.

India Mehta’s magnificent set, which is at floor level, it is formed in a red, stratified Bungle Bungle-style rock formation around a small fresh-water pool. There is a most effective scenery effect towards the end of the play that would require a great deal of skill, planning and patience.

 

        At the suggestion of Sal (Will O’Mahony), a group of old Uni friends decide to have a final fling before settling down to their occupations. Sal, who now lives in Melbourne, decides not to ask his girlfriend on the trip but still manages to arrange for three boys and three girls.

       Five of the group are filled with enthusiasm; however, for Vanessa (Whitney Richards), the lack of ‘normal’ facilities and creepy-crawlies fills her with dread. Eventually they agree, deciding on a beautiful, extremely remote spot, 300 kms inland from Kalbarri.

       Although their travel is lengthy, with Mike (Joshua Brennan) at the wheel, and Steve’s (Samuel Delich) juvenile games and wild stories, they love every second of the journey. Soon they arrive at the sheltered creek. Exuberant Elizabeth (Rose Riley) is first in for a dip, but Frankie (Adriane Daff) feels uncomfortable with the area – and what are those strange haunting sounds? Sounds that will change their lives forever.

 

 

Chris has cleverly blended several writing styles for his performers. He has incorporated asides, internal thoughts presented as monologues to the audience and bold, punchy interaction between the superbly created characters.

This gripping tale is directed by one of WA’s most talented directors and dramaturges, the adventurous Adam Mitchell. Adam has proved his ability and can be given any genre of script and direct it in such a way that it is exciting and fresh, and always fast-paced whilst still fully comprehensible. Movement director, Danielle Micich ensured that the cast filled the limited set and that the tempo was conserved.

The WA desert has its own unique colours that change dramatically throughout the day and night. Lighting designer, Chris Donnelly, on his first major project has captured perfectly the mood and distinctive colours of the outback. Coupled with the strange and creepy soundscape of composer, Ben Collins, you find yourself there, in the desert suffering with the group.

An unusual play, superbly presented and acted by a young, award-laden team. The first success of Chris Isaacs, I eagerly await the next.