‘Fallen – The Secret Project’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by October 23, 2014

‘Fallen – The Secret Project’ is a devised piece, based on ‘Hades’ Nightclub’, an idea for a theme by Suzie Miller. This wonderful collection of cameos and brief sketches are being performed by WAAPA’s 2nd Year Performance Making Students at the Bakery, 233 James Street, Northbridge. The exciting 80-minute shows, or tours, are nightly at 7.30 pm until the 29th October. There is an army of black masked ushers ensuring your safety and enjoyment.

 

This group of Performance Making students have been studying how best to use spaces given to them for performances, to achieve the most impressive results for the performers. They have used every square centimetre of the Bakery; the amount of work that has been put into preparing the sets is mindboggling. They have employed the outside area for a couple of scenes, but most of the work has gone into the interior, which has a large central dance floor as the Hades Nightclub. Leading off this central area are corridors of red velvet curtains, leading to the numerous rooms of Hell. Each room has its own particular secret.

 

     On entering the warmly lit, hellish nightclub, the King of the Underworld, Hades (Tristan Balz) is waiting with his lover, Persephone (Chloe Evangelisti). Their bodyguard, Cerberus (Haydon Wilson) and female servant, Medea (Lucy Clements) are close by. Suddenly the doors fly open and Orpheus (Jackson Used) enters looking for his only love, the beautiful blonde-haired woman, Eurydice (Zoe Hollyoak) still in her wedding dress, who was stolen from him by the Devil. Hades warns Orpheus not to meddle, before having him thrown out.

       Dressed in a tartan suit, the club’s master of ceremonies, Charon (Barney Pollock) welcomes the group and gives us warnings, including never removing our half masks.

The clubbers are divided into groups in a typical infernal way, before being led along different corridors to face the horrors of Hell.

    The three Fates, Lachesis (Talisha Bartlett), Clotho (Hayley Worsley) and Atropos (Antonia Sassine), pick off a newcomer to suffer from their trickery over a cup of tea. Poor Pandora (Mariah O’Dea), a young child locked in her room, searches for a better life. After seeing Aphrodite (Samantha Maclean) bathing and tempting the men, we move onto the depths of Hell, a dark cellar and its frightening minder, Prometheus (Timothy Wingfield).

     Past the Minotaur (Rachael Woodward), who had a feature that I had never before considered. We enter the sumptuous, golden bower of Midas (Helia Sulak) before passing on to the room of Narcissus (Elijah Melvin) where another sexual tempter was waiting.

     You meet a murderer, Heracles (Tiffany Blight), then on to an operating theatre that made the surgeons of the Middle Ages look advanced. A nurse (Nicole Harvey) is helping the surgeon, Caucasian Eagle (Melissa Ettler) dissect a man, Phineas (Timothy Green). Past the beautiful Helen (Indiana Coole) doing her exercises, to the temptations of life, where a King is suffering.

 

On first entering the ‘theatre’, one is immediately aware of the professionalism and huge amount of work that has gone into the production. No one was allowed to speak; even the ushers skilfully guided the groups through the corridors of Hell with slick precision (stage managed by Megan van der Weide).

With an audience of around a 100, the direction had to be precise. The timing for each little cameo had to be accurate within seconds. Director, Suzie miller and her assistants, Andrew Lewis and Frances Barbe, have taken the cast well outside their comfort zones and given us an outstanding piece of theatre.

The lighting rig was massive (Ashlee Poole) and demands on the sound designers (Christian Peterson, Lewis Spragg) complex. The whole system seemed to be controlled from a central point, which must have made the installer and operator’s task much more difficult.

The variety in the genres was enormous, each scene being very different. Ruth Mongey’s sets and costumes on such a big production could have been half-hearted, but instead, even the finest points seemed to have been considered. True quality.

This is a remarkably good production, and it is so reassuring to know that the future of theatrical spectacles will be in the hands of such talent.