Feast Festival Review: Numinous Asylum

Numinous Asylum is a developmental piece that explores the multi-faceted world of mental health and the social and psychological approaches found within that sphere.

By

Presented by Labyrinth Productions
Reviewed 10th November 2019

Numinous Asylum is a developmental piece that explores the multi-faceted world of mental health and the social and psychological approaches found within that sphere.

The show was a full theatre production that welcomes the audience into an asylum style venue. Guests were greeted by check list and medical bands providing for an immersive experience.

The show contained four overall characters that were placed within four rooms of a mental health asylum on stage. Each room and character displayed that character’s unique attribute which was combined with individualised lighting and music. The general theme of mental health and the medicalisation of mental illness presented strongly throughout the individual components of the overall show.

The general plot appeared as an evolution of works, guided by the individual characters. It exhibited an overall work based on mental illness where the backstory was key to the full understanding. This backstory was a little difficult to immediately connect to the show as it ran. There were the case notes of each character given in a written brief to each audience member and a fast-paced multimedia show, that were detailed in their own manner but difficult to piece together during crucial moments within the show.

There was a strong interaction and connection amongst the overall cast. They worked well together to provide opportunity to perform their own stories. Each of the stories were connected to a dedicated soundtrack, which in certain moments made the show feel as if it were led by the strength of the chosen pop and experimental music.

Numinous Asylum was deliberately intense. Its presentation of mental illness was admirably courageous in its direct approach. The cutting nature of the work had multiple hard-hitting moments. However, the show itself could benefit from a clearer overarching narrative, rather than an escape/freedom plot that didn’t allow opportunity for each captured character to explore their motive or desire for leaving their current situation.

There were a lot of experimental and developmental aspects within the show that would provide for a fascinating exploration in future iterations of the show. It captured a high level of themes and ideas that were incapsulated within the asylum setting.

Numinous Asylum has a second Feast Festival show prior to development for a 2020 Fringe Festival run. Their progress within the discussion of mental health and its treatment establishes numerous conversation points and engaging content.

Reviewed by Alex Dunkin
Twitter: @AlexDunkin

Rating out of 5: 3 Deliberately Intense

Venue:  Nexus, Lion Arts Centre Adelaide
Season:  10th & 17th November 2019
Duration:  1 hour 20 mins
Tickets:  $20.00 – $25.00
Bookings:  https://www.feast.org.au/events/numinous-asylum/

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