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Brisbane's Big Wet Inspires Local Playwright
L- R Jack Murphy as Karl, Briellen Juracic as Sandra and Cliff Ellis as Glenn.
Everyone remembers the 2011 Brisbane flood. While the mud army have long since hosed off their gumboots, the event left an indelible imprint on the entire community. So it's unsurprising that a local playwright would create a story that takes place during the event. In the true Aussie fashion of literal naming (Thorny Devil, Sandy Point, Great Ocean Road to name but a few) the play is entitled, The Flood. The first full length play by Tim Horgan is playing until 21st of May at Queen Alexandra House in Coorparoo as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival.
The story revolves around four self-absorbed twenty-somethings. They've attacked the unattainable costs of home ownership by pooling their resources to purchase a house together. Unfortunately for our intrepid anti-heroes, the Brisbane River is preparing to burst its banks and inundate their Yeronga riverside residence.
Horgan presents us with a disrespectful and irresponsible kidult lawyer Glenn, a passionate amateur food reviewer Karl, the henpecked weakling Damo and his stereotypically killjoy girlfriend Sandra. There's already tension among the housemates when the flood hits and none of them see it coming. Stranded without food and water they face errant wildlife, illness and challenges that force them to change and grow.
L-R Bernard Mina as Damo, laughing with Cliff Ellis as Glenn.
The Flood started life as an audio drama and its now seeing its first foray into the world of sound and vision. As one might expect on an opening night, there were a few teething problems which will most likely be ironed out during the season. A few verbal stumbles, vocal projection issues and slow cues from the cast, some self conscious acting, and timing of scene changes could use a bit of polishing.
Light and sound cues were effectively timed by Gregg Gorris. Some of the sound effects really added to the comedy of the play. The sound mix was a little loud when contrasted with some of the actors' soft voices but the lighting during the fire was very effective. Whoever was responsible for set design (not listed in the program) found a clever solution to filling a stage with brown Brisbane river water - thankfully without the dead fish and sewerage stink!
The best acting of the night came from Jack Murphy as Karl who brought a lot of realism to his performance. Cliff Ellis as Glenn started slowly but warmed up after the first act. Peta Zivec as the rescue lady had some good comic timing and was a real crowd favourite on opening night.
The beautiful Queen Alexandra House is one of the many interesting venues during Anywhere Theatre Festival.
A word of advice to those attending: Anywhere Theatre Festival is constrained at times by the inventive locations. While Queen Alexandra Home was a gorgeous place with lovely views of the city, I'd advise those who want an unobstructed view of the stage to sit front and centre as there are pillars in the room and no raised seating. It's a good idea to arrive around seven when doors open so you can grab a beer, wine or soft drink from the bar and enjoy the balcony before the show.
There are three driveway entrances to the site. Guests should enter via the third entrance when on Old Cleveland Road heading toward the city. It will be marked by an Anywhere Theatre Festival flag. Run time for The Flood is 100 minutes plus a 15-minute interval after act two. The Flood is rated M. it contains adult themes, coarse language and drug use.