There are few things we face in life that are more confronting and devastating than the loss of a loved one. Delving into the complexities of this life-altering experience, is the Clockfire Theatre Co. production, The Grief Parlour. Clockfire Theatre Co. was established in 2012 by Emily Ayoub, who is a performer and the artistic director of the company. The Grief Parlour will be the very first work presented outside the Old 505 Theatre in Surry Hills, where they spent the past year as a resident company. Presented by Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, the award-winning Clockfire Theatre Co.'s latest production is one not to be missed.
Anna Martin (left) Emily Ayoub (right)
The Grief Parlour, directed by Jo Turner, creates an abstract world that draws you in and encourages your imagination to run wild, all the while challenging traditional concepts of space and time. We are taken on a surreal journey, experiencing loss and letting go from the perspective of those left behind, as well as through the eyes of the lost soul trying to come to terms with their fate in the afterlife. Both searching, with a glimmer of hope, to once more connect with each other in a final, seemingly impossible flourish, outside the existence that we know.
Taking place in a friendly funeral parlour as well as an other-worldly sphere, the transition between the two is seamlessly created on stage using text, sound and visual effects, inspired by the unique French Lecoq technique of physical theatre. Props, costumes, sound and intense physicality transport you through the phases of this complex human passage.
While nothing is black and white about the grieving process and there is nothing ordinary about leaving this existence, the way in which these notions are explored on the stage is simple to follow, thus leaving you able to become completely engrossed in the story. The Grief Parlour is moving and gripping, it is also filled with warmth and humour, bringing all the human emotion to the forefront.
This form of theatre is like no other I've seen. It is a unique and captivating experience, with so much respect going to the cast and crew that successfully execute this performance style. The actors are required to have perfect timing in order to create smooth switches from scene to scene, which they achieved with ease.
With Clockfire Theatre Co. working as a creative ensemble, the trust and connection between actors and crew alike make this play so fluid, expressive and natural. The cast provides humour, drama, light and shade, with one and all bringing their own unique talents to the stage. The story wouldn't be half as stirring without the visual and sound effects that accompany the flawless acting on stage.
Riverside Theatres consistently presents a diverse selection of entertainment in their modern and accommodating venue. With productions of this calibre hitting the stage, I can only look forward to enjoying more stunners of this quality in the future.