‘Between Solar Systems’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by September 9, 2015

‘Between Solar Systems’, was written by ex-Murdoch student Scott McArdle, who has been mentored by Finegan Kruckemeyer. Scott is a wonderful new WA talent; still in his early twenties, his numerous scripts always show complexity, interest and superb structure. His dialogue is natural and outstanding.

This 80-minute, Second Chance Theatre and Blue Room production can be seen in the Blue Room Main Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Northbridge nightly at the earlier time of 7.00, until Saturday 26th September.

 

The set is a bedroom / cabin in a massive, aging spacecraft. The room has three airlock doors, but no windows. Set designer, Sara Chirichilli has created an impressive, ‘well-worn’ room, superbly built by John King. The reality is such, that very quickly you believe that you are on-board. The costumes are by Sophie Braham.

A large interactive computer screen hangs on one wall. The jaw-droppingly ingenious AV design is by Warwick Doddrell, which along with Scott McArdle’s lighting effects brings a completely new environment to the Blue Room theatre.

Tim Brain’s soundscape, combined with Drew Kraplijanov’s subtle music, brings life to the whole scene. (Operated by Daley King)

 

       The room light comes on, showing a young man, Vincent (Nick Maclaine), asleep on his bed. A semi-robotic voice, Vi (Jo Morris) announces over the spaceship’s Tannoy that it is a new day, before asking what Vincent would like for his breakfast.

       Vincent has been on this same spacecraft alone, since he was three years old. He has not seen another human being in more than twenty years. As he has matured, his desire to know more about his parents, why he is alone in space and what his future holds, has come to the surface of his mind.

       One day whilst resting, a girl in a bathing costume (Emily David) appears in his room. Is she real? On the other hand, is she yet another virtual laser projection? Should Vincent challenge the system, and what will happen if he does?

 

Nick Maclaine was on stage for the whole 80 minutes; he played several very different characters, with various accents. His energy-packed performance was flawless, as the script swung from pedantic to threatening terror.

Jo Morris, who supplied the controller’s voice, was magnificent as she tried to command the captive space traveller. Emily David also had various characters and personae; the overall teamwork was exceptional, and even on a genre in which I am not usually interested, the suspense was complete.

Scott has a dry sense of humour and there were many comic lines, which helped balance the script mood.

An amazing amount of thought has been put into this production, so I am sure that this play will become a multi-award winner. The acting, set, lighting and AV effects were all supreme. With all of the twists, the story grabs you until the end. Highly recommended.