Adelaide Festival Review: Fugitive


Fugitive is an original retelling of Robin Hood, set in a dystopian future where leaderless knights harass the weak and an all-powerful sheriff controls all.

Presented by Windmill Theatre
Reviewed 2 March 2014

Fugitive kicks off the Windmill Theatre Trilogy with a (literal) bang. Lovingly created by the brilliant Rosemary Myers (Director), Matthew Whittet (Writer) and Jonathon Oxlade (Designer), Fugitive is the first show in a trilogy about adolescences, change and, as Whittet says, being a complete and utter idiot.

Fugitive is a completely original retelling of Robin Hood, set in a dystopian near-future where leaderless knights harass the weak and an all-powerful sheriff controls all. The play follows Robin (Eamon Farren), Wil (Matthew Whittet), Marion (Kate Cheel) and Little John (Patrick Graham) as they escape persecution and, eventually, turn the tables on the cruel leaders of Nottingham. It is a life full of peril, drama and action, but also one full of singing, magic and love.

The story is engaging and well written, with interesting twists and original ideas throughout. It’s not exactly Robin Hood (Robin Hood didn’t have a mysterious magical backpack), but its uniqueness is what makes it special.

This play perfectly encapsulates the overarching theme of the Windmill Trilogy, presenting the highs and lows of adolescent life and the scary side of a world that often seems uncaring or even downright mean. It is an absolute thrill ride, a rollicking adventure and a heartbreaking drama all in one.

Farren, Whittet, Cheel and Graham are all fantastic and energetic actors. They are joined by Peter Houghton and Carmel Johnson as the genuinely horrifying baddies and the fabulous Danielle Catanzariti as Much Junior. This relatively small, but incredibly talented cast manage to create a world that seems highly populated and alive.

Of course, this couldn’t have been done without the help of a spectacular technical team. Richard Vabre’s lighting design is top notch. In fact, it’s basically magical. Luke Smile’s original soundtrack and Andrew Howard’s sound design only add to the magic, making the action seem real, giving weight to punches and making the drama all the more intense. The audience actually let out various ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as weapons and punches hit their mark. To turn a live play into a nearly cinematic experience is no small feat.

The set is also a highlight. Windmill Theatre productions always feature astounding backdrops and this one was no different. The almost Wes Anderson world in which the play takes place is beautifully crafted and incredibly versatile. With the help of lighting and sound the world of Fugitive grows in size and complexity until you could swear you were actually there.

Fugitive is an absolute blast. It is creative, shocking, thrilling and emotional, the complete package. Fugitive, and The Windmill Theatre Trilogy as a whole, really showcase just how amazing contemporary Australian theatre can be.

Reviewed by James Rudd

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 1 – 9 March
Duration: 80 mins
Tickets: $29.00-$39.00
Bookings: Book through BASS online or phone 131 246

Photo Credit: Tony Lewis


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