Leave your inhibitions at the door with this hilarious interactive theatrical event.
Photo by Shane Bell.
This is a strange and beguiling piece of theatre. Conceived by children, Separation Street is immersive, interactive and playful. Tip: leave your inhibitions at the door.
Kids first are separated from adults and whisked away. There is a palpable sense of awkwardness, the parents left alone in the foyer, not knowing what to expect next. I was reminded of the type of angst the parents suffered in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory whenever one of their upstarts is eliminated from the tour.
The adults are next brought in to a black space which houses an oversized white tent. They must dress in long coats and make ‘moon rocks’ from paper and masking tape. They are guided aptly by awkweirdo Stage Manager JOF (played by Joseph O’Farrell) whose mantra is ‘Don’t f*** it up for the kids’. He is a Norman Gunston type of character; wearing a neck-brace, broken glasses and plastered arm always speaking his mind whether it’s appropriate or not. His interactions with the adults, whether falling over himself or tripping on Panadeine Forte, were hilarious and bizarre. All the while he was able to guide the adults from scene to scene seamlessly.
We are introduced to the vulnerable and curious Emily (Emily Tomlins) who dreams of being an astronaut and scientist, who is instructed by JOF that she will have to play an adult role (cue the urgent rehearsal).
The most beautiful moment of the show occurs when from behind a mirrored wall we see the children for the first time (who can’t see us). This alone was worth the price of admission.
There were elements of a haphazard storyline such as the death of the parents Ray and Hope which were touched on loosely and would have benefitted from being fleshed out a little more. But the narrative was usurped by the overall experience, leaving it a little hard to follow and bitsy at times.
Overall this was a charming, self-effacing and immersive theatrical event about being yourself and pursuing your dreams. The kids will love it and the parents might take something special away with them as well.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
By Polyglot (with Suitcase Royale)
Northcote Town Hall
19 September - 4 October