‘Welcome to Slaughter’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by October 15, 2014

‘Welcome to Slaughter’ is a gripping horror story devised by the multi-award winning team of Michelle Robin Anderson, Jo Morris and Emily Rose Brennan. The storyline was modified and a script further refined by Jeffrey Jay Fowler for 11:47 Productions.

Georgia King’s production of ‘Welcome to Slaughter’ was developed with the support of PACT, centre for emerging artists, and HotHouse Theatre’s ‘A Month in the Country’ residential program, a project delivered in partnership with Albury City.

This outstanding 50-minute play can be seen at the Blue Room Theatre, 53 James Street, Northbridge nightly until 25th October. Performances commence at 7.00 pm.

 

The audience are ushered through forest growth as big leafy branches trail in your face. The ground is thick with autumn leaves and rotting logs. At the side stands a very old VW (?) convertible car with the roof down – it moves! Through an arch, dense dank undergrowth can be seen. The full moon lights up the scene. Superb set and AV by Shaye Preston, with a special mention to stage manager Georgia Smith and production manager Meabh Walton.

        An old car is driving through countryside lanes. It is the middle of the night and there is a full moon. In the car are two young women who have been in a relationship for several years. They are getting away from it all with a break in the country.

      We see the glow of the twisting roadside as the kilometres fly by, and watch as the driver (Jo Morris) struggles to stay awake by inanely singing along with the car radio. Her bored partner (Michelle Robin Anderson) tries to entertain herself, but in the end succumbs to weary, childish car games. Soon the warm glow of the morning sky can be seen.

      It is time for a pee break. The car draws into the side of the road. Whilst the driver is sitting in the car waiting for her friend to return, who should arrive on the scene but someone she hadn’t seen for many a year.

 

Every now and again, the ‘complete production’ arrives at the theatre. This is one of those special occasions. It has an amazing storyline, very well directed (Michelle Robin Anderson, Joe Lui), tremendous actors, fabulous mood lighting (Joe Lui), realistic set, perfect costumes, makeup, mood music and effects.

Brett Smith has produced a pumping, eerie soundtrack, that ranged from a couple of decibels to 120 dBs – that of a plane taking off. The creepy voiceovers make you shudder; this really was an amazing soundscape.

When an emotion-charged production has truly succeeded, as in the case of a tragedy or as in this production, chilling horror, the applause can often be stunted, when deep down the audience would really like to give a standing ovation. Last night the actors left the stage and not a single audience member moved for about 30 seconds – totally drained and fearful of having to leave the theatre through the haunted forest.

So take your heart tablets, wear incontinence pads – I guarantee that you will jump with shock – and trot down to the Blue Room for a new experience. Un-missable quality.