06 July 2011

Review: The Horror Face

The Horror Face
23 June 2011
MKA Pop Up Theatre
to 9 July

MKA co-founder Glyn Roberts needed to create a company that would champion his writing and let us see his magnificently warped view of the too-close-for-comfort future. The Horror Face has the best lion ever on a stage and play three of season one 2011 proves again that MKA are a shot of adrenalin into the heart of Melbourne's independent theatre.

To prepare for your drugs, you have to put on a disposable lab coat to enter the Pop Up Theatre, where the plastic walls make it feel like Dexter has prepared another kill room, and the only comfort is that at least one of us must survive to tell the tale... if the downstairs door isn't locked. Designer David Samuel is the morphine that takes away the pain of dull design.

And Robert's fearless writing is the amphetamines that force his audience to pay wide-eyed attention to his dystopian world where humans will connect if it's the last think they do. His language dances and trips with the likes of "Armageddon again" and his offstage images are more disturbingly hilarious than the ones on stage. It's more cohesive than his dark Christmas story This is set in the future and this time he's letting the characters lead the action, rather than relying on the surreal and shocking world.

With director Felix Ching Ching Ho balancing the uppers and downers with a tone that rolls from prophetic to confronting, Soren Jensen, Annie Last, Brendan McCallum and Matt Young grab their multiple roles by their delicate bits and ensure that there's only just enough time to draw a breath in between laughs. But in such small room, don't let the audience know how much you're loving this performance. When we glimpse the actor behind the character, their struggle and confusion becomes less powerful.

MKA's The Horror Face is selling out most nights, but if you book now you've got until the end of the week to join the MKA cheer squad. And you'll get to see a gay android and Andrew the lion puppet, who may well be my new favourite performer; Aslan sucks in comparison.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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