Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Doctor Who’s Midnight

Rehearsal Photo: Samantha Blackmore & Hugh O'Connor

A recreation of an episode of the BBC sci-fi TV series, Dr Who. The Doctor becomes trapped when a tourist shuttle breaks down and something tries to get in.

Presented by Sporadic Productions
Reviewed 12 February 2016

More wibbly-wobbly than timey-wimey, this amateur recreation of an episode from BBC’s hit sci-fi TV series Doctor Who is a valiant effort with too little experience behind it.

Set in a tourist shuttle on the resort planet Midnight, the Time Lord known as The Doctor becomes trapped with other passengers when their shuttle inexplicably breaks down and something out on the radiation-soaked plains tries to get in.

The television script by Russell T Davis is a tense thriller that’s made for the stage. The claustrophobic setting inside the shuttle becomes the perfect breeding ground for a mob mentality that takes on a life of its own and becomes equally as dangerous as the thing outside.

Unfortunately, Paul Messenger (Producer) and first time Director David JE Dyte show little imagination in bringing this story to life. The “adapted” script appears to show no adaptation, including in the dialogue which sometimes doesn’t quite make sense without the television magic.

The set is side-on with no real effort to find ways for the actors to face the audience. Watching the entire play in profile limits the opportunity to connect with the action but, on opening night, greater amounts of tension were garnered from the wobbling walls and, in particular, one wall which dislodged and leaned forward precariously for the duration of the performance.

For a futuristic society on another planet, it was disappointing to find the cast in plain street clothing, a blandness which carried through to many of the performances.

As The Doctor, actor Hugh O’Connor lacks the subtly and depth needed for such a demanding role. He carries the part but fails to command the stage as such a character should.

Samantha Blackmore, on the other hand, displays exceptional timing as possessed passenger Sky Silvestry. She is at her best when lip-syncing to the dialogue of others. It is very well rehearsed and displays a level of competence that the rest of the show should have met.

Under-rehearsed tech and a few fluffed lines will improve as the season progresses but board this shuttle with caution.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating (out of 5):  1.5

Venue: Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: 12-27 February
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets: $15 – $23
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)

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