Within These Walls presented by The National Institute of Circus Arts - Review

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Posted 2023-09-14 by Jenfollow

Wed 13 Sep 2023 - Sat 16 Sep 2023

Image - NICA

Presented by the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) and directed by Katie Cawthorne, a renowned Australian theatremaker and co-founder of The Anchor Theatre Company, Within These Walls will be performed at NICA , 39-59 Green St, Prahran until Sat 16 Sep 2023. Performance times Thu-Sat is 7.30pm, plus a matinee on Sat 16 Sep at 2pm. Get your tickets here to attend.

Performances are by 15 of NICA's 2nd year ensemble and features Anais Stewart, Gabriel Walker, Gemma Jackson, Jasmine Poniris, Jasmin Tait, Jesse Holden, Krystal Meakins, Kyle Fowler, Luca Trimboli, Max Neal, Merlene Hutt, Rose Symons, Taylor Vogt, Tyson Wallent and Zaelea Nolte. Set-Designer, Eloise Kent (Eclipse, NICA 2022 and The Darkening Sky, Theatre Works 2022); Soundscape Producer, Ian Moorhead (SLAP. BANG. KISS. Melbourne Theatre Company 2022, Oneiric, NICA 2023); and Lighting Designer, Kris Chainey (Circonoclasm and Made to Measure, NICA 2022). Costume creation provided by expert designer, Laurel Frank (Circus Oz, founding member) and the support of the Melbourne Polytechnic costume and makeup students. Dramaturg is by NICA’s very own Sebastien Pasche.

Content Warning: PG (parental guidance recommended). Appropriate for 12 plus years. Explores themes of anxiety, suspense and fear. The show may also contain loud music and smoke/haze. There's limited parking in Green street; James Street Carpark down James St (Union Hotel on the corner) the closest, and within a 7 min walking distance from NICA. Get in early as Chapel Street is renown for lack of parking especially on a Friday night. If travelling by public transport, get off at the Windsor or Prahran Station on the Sandringham Line. Tram Number 6 Glen Iris Tram along Swanston Street will bring you to the corner of High and Chapel Streets Prahran, from where it's a short and interesting walk to NICA, both from the train station and bus stop.

Things that go bump in the night is a theme that comes to mind throughout the play. As it unfolds, the simple yet cleverly thought out and built set literally takes on a life of its own. The windows breathe, the walls move, the bed gives birth to and swallows, the cupboards a portal, the floor easily a place to slither and slide, and a painting that expels. Intrigued? You should be because the set in its simplicity is pure unexpected genius! The music simply adds to the madness and mayhem, keeping you on edge, supporting the strangely scary and beautiful expressions of the human condition happening on stage, and looking fear in the eye while it reframes perspectives - always transformative. All this while the music keeps your heart rate going, wondering what to expect next. Lighting is perfectly controlled and powerful in its subtlety - comforting you with its softness while adding mystery the the scenes on stage.

The use of simple costumes to ignite your imagination is cleverly done. A jacket worn backwards akin to a straight jacket and mechanical movements alludes to madness and is alian at the same time. For me, it was reinforced by the expressions and movement of the hands that reminded me of the pale man in Pan's Labyrinth by the brilliant Guillermo del Toro. The uniformity and the ease the costumes give the performers to peel it away or slither or climb allows them to simply perform. The number of performers appearing, disappearing, performing in the outer realms - never a dull moment, always something to watch and wonder about, as it tries to divulge to the audience a mind astray as it tries to cope with the changes of the world around us, facing fear, reframing perspectives. Back to the beginning - on stage, someone peacefully sleeping in bed. As he decides to read, things start to go bump in the night - and there's no looking back. He has to deal. It's a different man who goes back to bed at the end of the line; has he transformed? Much to think about Within These Walls that keeps you engaged at all times in absolute wonderment.

If this was an exam, this 2nd year ensemble passes with flying colours for their very professional performance. Theatre and Circus combined, they were impressive in their movement, performance and facial expressions. being actor, dancer and acrobat all at once. The strength in the performance and the athletic strength to perform was incredible, not to mention the skills required for some of the acrobatic and aerial feats displayed. They were theatric enough to give you the heebie-jeebies with every slither and slide, appearing and disappearing, crowding your senses, making you think and wonder, thrill, frighten and astonish you. An ingenious presentation by all involved! One not to miss, get your tickets , support live performance and our up-and-coming talent that deserved all the applause and encore they received. Just 75mins long with no interval sets you up to make the most of a wonderful night out. Get in early before the show to ensure parking and enjoy many of the eateries and bars on Chapel street. The show finishes early enough to continue partying along Chapel and enjoy live music in some of the venues, or simply head for an ice cream or a nightcap.

262535 - 2023-09-12 18:10:41


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