THERE WILL BE A CLIMAX
THERE WILL BE A CLIMAX, Red Line Productions with NIDA at the Old Fitz, 9 January-3 February 2018. Photography by Robert Catto
When the Red Lines saw the first iteration of this inanely brilliant show at NIDA their first reaction was: we have to get it to the Old Fitz, and they have. It was originally part of the school's 2016 Directors and Designers Graduating program and, with co-creator and director Alexander Berlage, the company has successfully transferred 55 minutes of non-stop, kaleidoscopic, totally bonkers images and ideas to Woolloomooloo.
It opens with a scene-setting blast of Dead Or Alive’s 1984 disco hit whose chorus goes, “You spin me right round, baby right round like a record, baby right round round round...” (Sound design throughout by Katelyn Shaw.) Then the action takes place on a quietly rumbling, constantly trundling revolve. It has a definite touch of a rickety Dansette record player turntable and almost fills the stage area of the Old Fitz.
It’s backed by semi-circular drapes of glittering gold. Warm bright lighting illuminates the six actors as they introduce themselves at a smart twirl clad in individual eccentric black wigs and make-up, black patent shoes and slightly too-small black suits. (Set and costume design by Nicholas Fry, lighting by Alexander Berlage.)
The six, Toby Blome, Oliver Crump, Duncan Ragg, Geneva Schofield, Akex Stylianou and Contessa Treffone, communicate with the audience and one another via something approaching the beginnings of language (pre-words). It’s at once funny, peculiar and incomprehensible, yet easy to understand – a bit like Trump without the scary, infuriating bits – and crafted by voice and text coach Odile Leclezio.
With Berlage’s creative direction and vision the performances gradually reveal discrete characters through their physicality, manner and intentions and the whole becomes a dizzying, droll entertainment. It almost seems churlish to single out any of the six actors but it’s virtually impossible to take one’s eyes off Contessa Treffone even as she apparently does little.
The show is also a tribute to the skills of choreographer Toby Derrick. The six never stop moving on the ceaselessly whirling revolve – with it, against it, across it; individually or with one or more actors; in concert, in opposition and in complex, witty, hilariously multi-faceted formations that could quickly become chaotic if a wrong step were to be taken. It’s a remarkable achievement by all and Derrick is a talent to watch.
A lot of items fall from above and prove that life in a constant whirl can be as confronting and puzzling as anywhere else in this city. There Will Be A Climax is really clever and utterly ridiculous. Recommended.