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Picnic at Hanging Rock at the Theatre Guild - Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
Event: -
Rhoda Sylvester, Zoe Muller, Laura Antoniazzi, Gabi Douglas & Zanny Edhouse (front) - Photo courtesy of Theatre Guild.

The Rock continues to make a lot of trouble for a lot of people.

It is quite a challenge to present on stage what appears to be a true tragic story, set in 1900 by Joan Lindsay, about a group of schoolgirls vanishing while climbing a harsh tree-covered rock, that was also released as a culturally haunting movie in 1995 by Australian director, Peter Weir.

Laura Antoniazzi (Elizabeth) and Gabi Douglas (Arielle) - Photo courtesy of Theatre Guild

This iconic story may be so fixed in many people's minds with the pre-conceived visually haunting images of Weir's movie that became part of Australian mythology, it may present a challenge for some audiences to accept Tom Wright's stage adaptation. However, the performances are bound to capture your imagination of Australians with your images of flowing Victorian dresses in contrast to our harsh bush scenery.

Laura Antoniazzi, Gabi Douglas, Rhoda Sylvester (top), Zoe Muller and Zanny Edhouse (front) - Photo courtesy of Theatre Guild.

From the moment you are seated, you observe the multi-dimensional stage you can't help but sense the atmosphere of the stark Australian scenery with the towering dark sinister rock. During the performance, the stage becomes starker with Richard Parkhill's dim lighting and the loud horrific music composed by Kristin Stefanoff, and the dramatic effect captured as the girls climb the rock creating a growing gripping atmosphere.

Directed by Geoff Brittain, the play opens with the five cast members in their school uniforms addressing the audience directly. As the tension builds and with the actors changing roles, as they transform into different characters, it is a challenge to single out one performer as their performances are excellent and perfectly timed as they switch genders and transform into characters beyond their years, adding to the growing suspense throughout the performance.

Although Tom Wright's script is faithful to Linday's novel, some audience members may find the telling rather than action in a few places slows down the pace in a few scenes, but what will surely excite audiences is the impressive acting and the haunting and imagined horrors created by the fascinating production.

Photo Courtesy of the Theatre Guild.

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Why? See the exciting South Australian première of Joan Lindsay's enduring, chilling Australian cult classic.
When: Sat 6, Wed-Sat 10-13 & 17-20 October 2018 at 7.30pm and Sun 7 October 2018 at 4pm
Phone: Theatre Guild office on 8313 5999 or email
Where: The Theatre Guild, Little Theatre - The Cloisters, University of Adelaide. - After hours parking available in the University grounds. Please allow extra time for parking on nights when there is an event at Adelaide Oval.
Cost: SPECIALLY REDUCED 80TH ANNIVERSARY TICKET PRICES: $22 Full / $18 Concession Online: (fee applies) Tickets at the door subject to availability.
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