The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana is an intelligent and subtle integration of the ancient Arthurian legend and the well-known horrors of World War I.
When first encountering this play in the Fringe program, I questioned how this concept could possibly be achieved yet somehow this performance captures both the magic of the legends and the earthy reality of the war.
The past and present are blended effortlessly by the director, Jethro Compton, transitioning between the flashbacks of genial British boyhood and current wartime hardships without requiring a change of costume or scene; despite frequent comedy throughout the performance, there is no mistaking the undercurrent of resignation and despair that would have been undoubtedly felt by the soldiers in the trenches. Yet there is an odd magic imbued in this play by the ethereal figure of Morgana/Gwen (Bebe Sanders), who is at once a malignant spirit and the only light of hope to Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot (James Marlowe, Sam Donnelly and Hayden Wood).
The venue itself is remarkable; set in a small, boxy room with corrugated iron overhead, hessian sacks covering the walls and dirt underfoot, the audience truly feels as though they have been thrown into the bunkers of World War I. You are immersed in the dialogue and are the fly on the wall, privy to this strange, magical and ultimately painful war story. However, the realism of the set is perhaps taken a step too far; the bench seating makes the sixty five minute performance constantly uncomfortable and I was tempted to check my watch continually despite the impeccable acting from the cast.
Take some time out from your daily lives and drop into the world created by the Bunker Trilogy cast; I have no doubt that any of the three in this trilogy will be a rewarding experience, whether it be Morgana, Macbeth or Agamemnon. Perhaps take a pillow though, if you favour satisfactory seating.
Reviewed by Emily Francine Palmer
Venue: The Bunker, 25 Marlborough Street, Adelaide.
Season: 16 February – 16 March 2014
Duration: 65 minutes
Tickets: $17.00 – $23.00
Bookings: Book through Adelaide FringeTix Online or call 1300 621 255
Disclosure: Emily has been employed as a ticketing officer at the Garden of Unearthly Delights.