The Vehicle Failed To Stop (Version 1.0)

vehiclefailed1Venue: Carriageworks (Eveleigh NSW), Oct 15 – 26, 2013
Devisors: Sean Bacon, Irving Gregory, Jane Phegan, Paul Prestipino, Kym Vercoe, Olivia Stambouliah
Actors: Irving Gregory, Jane Phegan, Olivia Stambouliah

Theatre review
The subject is a heavy one, and the themes are serious. We are shown a side to the Iraq war that is little known, and the evidence provided is scandalous and outrageous. The tone of the production is suitably sombre, but it is a lively show that comprises quick and sharp scenes, holding its audience’s attention from start to end.

Exploration of theatrical techniques and devices are a key interest of this group (the exploding car is wonderful). Using the war story as a backdrop for a wide range of experimentation with sounds, visuals, and all the possibilities of an empty space, this is a highly creative work that is centred on form as much as it emphasises its content. Indeed, both form and content are interesting and thoroughly delved into, but on occasion, they seem to diverge and distract from one another. There are points in the performance where what is being shown on stage is so complex and enthralling, that the story seems to fall by the wayside. The originality of Version 1.0’s theatrical craft is accomplished and important, and so is the message of the story. Fortunately, both manage to get their days in the sun, although not always at the same time.

Aside from three actors, we see on side stage (in this multimedia production), a team of two musicians and a video artist. Their work alternates between providing background effects and featuring heavily at the foreground, but always married perfectly with the stage action. This genre of performance is still unconventional and not always practised successfully, but The Vehicle Failed To Stop is an example of how close collaborative efforts can give birth to something authentic and deliver theatre that is intriguing and unique.