Saturday, November 5, 2022

UTOPIATE - Rebus Theatre & Belco Arts Centre.


The cast of "Utopiate"

Co-Directed by Sammy Moynihan & Ben Drysdale – Assistant Director: Melissa Gryglewski

Sound Designer:  Marlene Claudine Radice – Costume Designers:  Leah Ridley & Fi Hopkins 

Belconnen Arts Centre Theatre - November 4, 5 & 12.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens.

Sam Floyd as Thorax Mansion in "Utopiate"

Rebus is a Canberra-based award-winning mixed-ability theatre company focussed on creating social change through inclusive theatre experience for people with disability and lived experience of mental ill-health. The company offers a range of programs including one entitled “Flair” which offers disability leaders of the future the opportunity to discuss, devise, write and perform their own original work.

“Utopiate” is the second production presented under this banner and offered for a season of three performances in the Belconnen Arts Centre Theatre.

Leanne Shutt as Crystal Hart in "Utopiate".

Subtitled “ Would You Choose a World of Pain ? ”, the play transports the audience into an intergalactic world where a cast of eight disabled actors, and actors with lived experience of mental ill health, portray a group of humans suffering from various forms of unbearable pain.

When a smart-talking alien called Thorax Mansion, played by Sam Floyd, offers the humans the opportunity to follow him to planet Utopiate with the promise that there they will live a life free of pain, the humans enthusiastically accept his offer. .

On Utopiate they meet a group of Aliens, and while Thorax’s promise of a life a pain is fulfilled, the humans discover there is a price.

Stephen Perkins (Silver Star) - Zoe Trevorrow (Purple Raindrop) - Megumi Kawada (Mars Bar)
in "Utopiate"

Sam Floyd, Megumi Kawada, Zoe Trevorrow and Stephen Perkins play the Aliens, while Edward “Woody” Menzies, Carol Jayne “CJ” McManus, Leanne Shutt and Josh Rose are the bewildered humans.

The direction is inventive, the costumes are colourful, the lighting effects are excellent and the witty script is peppered with enough tongue-in-cheek lines to keep the audience chuckling through-out. Together with the underlying theme of “careful what you wish for” which bring the proceedings to an optimistic and satisfying conclusion, “Utopiate” offers a revealing insight into the valuable work being undertaken by Rebus Theatre.  

                                                 Images by Andrew Sikorski