Thursday 28 September 2017

The Yonder - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

With our planet about to implode, a lucky few citizens board a spacecraft to take them to safety on a deserted planet. Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Yonder follows three people on board this ship and looks at the tension, affection and horror that eventuates during these trying times.

The costuming is simple yet effective in this show, with the cast donning basic white and silver clothing - different to each other but uniform with their theme. While there are minimal props used, what is used is creative in its representation, particularly the hairdryers and socks as guns and space squid aliens respectively.

While the show has a lo-fi aesthetic, it unfortunately doesn't support the work as it results in performances by Shannan Lim, Elizabeth Davie and Ezel Doruk that don't seem believable with dialogue and reactions that are not always engaging. There are some humorous moments throughout the show which makes use of the trio's experience in clowning and absurdism, including Davie as the CEO of the shuttle company and the romance between Lim and Doruk's characters but none of this ever culminates to anything of note or play a role in any choices these characters face. 

The direction of the show creates an awkward pace with too many silences and the big moments of the show are never played out to invest the audience in the outcomes. There are far too many short scenes with blackouts that constantly prevent you from connecting with the work being performed.

The Yonder makes explicit references to the queue jumping and freeloading that those seeking asylum get accused of, and also about immigration and culture clashes, however it doesn't do anything to address this issue or explore it. Had this been explored in some detail, then The Yonder would have had a better structure with a stronger message to impart.

With further development, particularly in direction and a clearer idea of what this story wants to be, there is potential for The Yonder to be an intelligent allegorical piece of theatre. In its current state however, it does feel like a spacecraft that never really takes off. 

Click here to read my interview with Shannan Lim.
Show Information 
Venue: The Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne. 
Season:  until 30 September | Tues - Sat 6:45pm, Sun 5:45pm 
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc. and Cheap Tuesday 
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Main photo credit: Nayt Housman

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