Colony (TAP Gallery)

colony1Venue: TAP Gallery (Darlinghurst NSW), Sep 24 – 29, 2013
Playwrights: Kate Dunn, Oliver Featherston
Director: Lucinda Vitek
Actors: Linda Ngo, Davey Friedman, Ian Ferrington

Theatre review
Three people take a voluntary one-way journey from Earth to Mars. This simple premise opens up countless questions, themes, ideas, and scenarios, and Colony does well in exploring a wide range of these concepts. It is a script that does not shy away from complexities, but also prevents itself from over-thinking and becoming too abstract. It is a strong script with interesting characters that consistently fascinate, and succeeds in bringing the science fiction genre to a minimal stage.

This is a production that relies heavily on its actors. Atmospherics are crucial in this genre piece, and in the absence of more substantial sound design, the players are required to create a sense of mystery, foreboding and tension but they only succeed occasionally. Linda Ngo is slight in stature but her presence is strongest in the cast. There is an element of daring to her performance that is alluring, and she provides a necessary dimension of levity to the earlier scenes. Davey Friedman brings the drama, and gives the most polished performance to the play. His character development is distinct and we are captivated by the way his role transforms through the course of the show.

The production begins well, and ends impressively. Director Lucinda Vitek does a wonderful job in handling the surreal turn later in the story, and all the explosive action as the end approaches. It is unfortunate that the tightness and urgency does not appear earlier. There are scenes in the middle that could benefit from being more lively; perhaps some editing would help in achieving greater tension. Nevertheless, this is an interesting work with intriguing concepts and an entertaining story that would appeal to theatre-goers everywhere.