by Leonard Miller
Reviewed on Tue, 06/05/2014 - 03:56am
Leonard Miller Total Reviews: 14
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Theatre Review by Leonard Miller

What: Terminal - Next Wave Festival 2014
Developed through Aphids Super-Massive Mentorship Program
Where: Northcote Town Hall
When: 1st - 11th May
Composed by Dylan Sheridan
Percussion by Matthew Horsely
Performed by David Maney

Billed as an opera without voices, Terminal is an engaging and interesting reinterpretation of the classic form for a contemporary audience. Using the black box space of Studio 2 at Northcote Town Hall to great effect, creator/composer Dylan Sheridan reinvents the audiovisual grandstanding of traditional opera and presents something which is both resonant of the courtly excesses from which opera comes and relevant to the grind of everyday twenty-first century life.

Telling the story of a dream, Terminal provides little in the way of narrative. Identifiably surreal, this brave new work captures the random, highly visual world of a dreamscape beautifully. Presented as series of interconnected but independent moving images, quintessential questions about humanity are raised. Using the idea of the rat as a carrier of disease and as representative of the drain of the rat race, Sheridan has made a work without a word spoken that can speak visually and uniquely to all. There is no required interpretation of the work and its strength lies in this availability; every audience member is allowed to understand it on their own terms.

Upon entering the black space, the lights and sound throb through the senses and the body. This hypnotic effect preludes the invitation to surrender to sound and sight intelligently and gives a glimpse into the theatrical wizardry about to be employed to great effect throughout. Percussionist, Matthew Horsely, acts as the main protagonist. It is his dream portrayed on the stage. Matching the technical brilliance of the holes, the pots and the bamboo, Horsely creates a continuous live soundscape that works in well choreographed harmony with the recorded sound. The section involving a slab of meat worked beautifully.

There is no credited designer but the piece never fails to provide a visual stimulus. The mask and costuming of the rat is at once familiar and uncomfortable. The recorded sound complements the visuals seamlessly and is equally as engaging. At forty-five minutes, this work doesnâ??t overstay its welcome.

Well considered and compiled, Terminal is an exciting and tantalising look into the new and unexpected directions performance is taking in Melbourne.

To make the most of this work, go with an open mind. This is a show that doesnâ??t need to shout to say something. Full of stimulating and sometimes obscure imagery and compelling sound, Terminal is an experiment that works. It is theatre that raises more questions than it answers.

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