A crisp barbecue setting greets the audience; grass, decking, cool water, and an inviting breeze. There is a freshness to the set design that plants the suggestion of calm in the mind. However, the flutter of a curtain and a painting of a raven pique the interest that there are more pressing issues ahead than burning the sausages. A recording of Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis 2 is an early sign of Kafka’s influence at work; appropriate, as it turns out that residing in Antillia is a gigantic elephant. And it’s in the room.
There’s almost thirty minutes of development before we are given some hints that all is not as it seems. Relax through the early storytelling which leans heavily on exposition; you’ll need all your mental gymnastic skills for the remaining gripping hour.
Kieran McNamara excels as the wholly unlikeable character Geoff, a Ralph Lauren clad tool. McNamara’s vocal range is impressive; quiet malevolence and explosive ranting are equally clear, and equally disturbing. His pretty wife Michaela (Krystal Brock) evokes a lamentable empathy, and spars neatly with Georgie Pile as Chloe who brings a flirty charisma to the proceedings. Vince Fusco rounds out the dining quartet with a stellar performance as Anton. Adam Cirillo as Shaun delivers the gold standard of communication with very little dialogue; he is excellent as Shaun. See Antillia for his eye-speak alone.
The ensemble work well together and some dialogue trips on opening night did not widely distract from the intriguing tale. Written and produced by Liam Ormsby, the script is interesting, well conceived, and with some clever one-liners delivered superbly. Late in the piece, the amount of time dedicated to dissent between characters does not serve to build the intensity further (the glass can’t be more full). It becomes uncomfortably too much, but this is, perhaps, the point.
Sean Ormsby’s seamless lighting and sound add fluency to this quality production. The world created by director and designer Toby Rice is fascinating. Rice incorporates just the right dose of technology and pathos to deliver an impressive, if somewhat harrowing, production.
I do not recommend you seek to learn more about the plot than the creators have divulged; take a leap and you might just find yourself considering the experience for the rest of the Fringe.
If you like your dinner parties with secrets, lies, fear, jealousy, cruelty and schadenfreude (and who doesn’t?), go in all “ethnic-like”, and book for Antillia. It comes with sides of confrontation, intensity, and suspense.
Content Advisory: Coarse Language (Strong), Violence (Strong), Sexual References (Strong).
Reviewed by Emily Morris
Rating out of 5: 4
Venue: J150 Rehearsal Room, 57a Queen Street,
Norwood. Please note, this venue does not have disability access.
Season: 11-21 February 2015
Duration: 90 minutes
Tickets: $19.50 – $21.50
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)