Time Out Melbourne

This event has finished

A funny, creepy and thoughtful hour that will leave you amused and intrigued

Season One of the MKA’s Theatre of New Writing keeps getting better with the latest addition from playwright Glyn Roberts and director Felix Ching Ching Ho, The Horror Face. Contrary to the name, while this piece does contain elements of horror, it’s also very funny and frequently surreal. It’s a three act structure, with each third functioning both as an individual vignette but also as a part of a larger interconnected story. The exact links between each segment will be something you will hotly debate after the show, but the beauty of each is that they work equally well alone or taken as a whole.

The common elements between each of the acts are that each has two strands that come together at the end, one of which is always some kind of presentation to the audience; and a recurring inspection of the lions inside all of us. Each actor plays a different character in each act, but subtle commonalities link their roles like different notes played on the same string.

Brendan McCallum and Annie Last both show great versatility in these roles, the latter bringing a hilariously deranged sense of horror to the stage as a human/lion hybrid. Matt Young is certainly believable as a composite organism holding the DNA all of humanity, although he is given less of an opportunity to show his range than the rest of the quartet. But Soren Jensen is really the axis on which all of the stories swing and he is simply fantastic, shifting between motivational go-getter to anxious boffin to coldly aggressive lion, sometimes in the space of a single sentence. It’s a genuinely fascinating performance and recommends the play on the strength of this alone.

The sound design is meticulously conceived - there is a low level throbbing continuously throughout all three acts, which rises in intensity during moments of tension. It’s so underplayed you barely notice it, but the effect it has is undeniable. The set design is minimalist: sterile plastic sheets and a single white block prove remarkably effective at setting the stage for almost anywhere. In a nice touch, the audience itself is incorporated into the set by being given lab coats to don as they enter, and indeed Jensen frequently addresses the audience in this context, a mechanism so effective that it wouldn’t have been surprising if some of the crowd had spoken back to Jensen when asked a rhetorical question.

Perhaps what’s most important to note is just how funny all of this is - the surreal scenarios hit the perfect balance between sense and nonsense that trips the funny bone, and combined with the sparkling dialogue and Jensen’s ardent delivery, you’ll leave the theatre feeling both amused and intrigued.

By Daniel Nicholls   |  

The Horror Face details

Address
64 Sutton Street, North Melbourne 3051

Price $15.00 to $25.00

Date 21 Jun 2011-09 Jul 2011

Open Tue-Sat 8pm

Director: Felix Ching Ching Ho

Cast: Soren Jenson

MKA map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

La Tortilleria

214m - As the Mexican wave swept Melbourne, Diana Hull couldn’t shake the feeling...

Luncheonette

765m - Warning: dining at Luncheonette may cause side effects such as a pressing...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

64 Sutton Street

Built as the Commonwealth Food & Produce Stores Circa 1960’s, 64...

Ministry of Dance

So You Think You Can Dance? judge Jason Coleman runs Ministry of Dance, a...

Pavilion Live

296m - The old Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington is to undergo a major refit with...

Two Ton Max

536m - Situated behind an anonymous street exterior, Two Ton Max is a large,...

More venues nearby

You might also like

Take a selfie

Take a selfie

Melbourne has received its own unique wings at Southern Cross Lane

Best dishes

Best dishes

The very best things we put in our mouths this month

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus