According to Pierce Wilcox of Sekrit Projekt, a five piece theatre collective (and noise pop band) out of New South Wales, the reason that films like Star Wars resonated with so many people in our troubled, chaotic world is because they offered a simple story. There was a bad guy, a good guy and spaceships. What’s hard to understand about that? We all seek to be the hero in our own stories, but with every hero comes a villain.
Only You Can Save Us is a beautifully put-together homage to classic sci-fi and b-movies that explores the inner workings of sci-fi character stereotypes. Behind every “Captain Hero” or “Sarge” there is a kid, raised on a mixture of Star Wars and pop music, with thoughts and feelings that go beyond what you see on screen.
Of course, it’s not all introspection. The performance is delightfully silly, tinged with that sort of over-baked anti-humour of shows like Danger 5 or Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, complete with thousand mile stares and super corny monologues.
There’s also quite a bit of song and dance thrown in. Caitlin West (who plays “The Girl”) gives us a beautifully sad acoustic love song as a sort of interval to the action, and the dancing is something quite spectacular. It must have taken ages to practice every move and get all five people on stage to move in such perfect sync. The result is that the five basically make music from their clapping and jumping.
All players are perfect for their roles. Brendan Hooke is a dashing “Captain Hero” and Laurence Rosier Staines is a truly dastardly John Villaine. Michaelle Savina brings us the archetypal nerdy scientist while remaining endearing and charming, and Pierce Wilcox makes Sarge a loveable killing machine. Sekrit Projekt bring a youthful energy to the stage, but also a wealth of experience.
I have to praise this performance for its ingenious use of props. With little more than pen torches, photographs of nebulas and black balloons Sekrit Projekt create a world in which intergalactic heroes fight off space bats on board a massive spaceship. The tiny little Cusack Theatre really is transformed when the action starts.
Both big and little kids will get a kick out of Only You Can Save Us, especially if they’re sci-fi buffs. There’s plenty of laughs to be had and perhaps realisations to be made about our own personal stories.
Reviewed by James Rudd
Rating out of 5: 3.5
Venue: Tuxedo Cat – Cusack Theatre, East Village, 54 Hyde Street, Adelaide
Season: 19 – 28 February 2015
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $18 – $23
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)