Night Creature poster. Photo credit: Lion House Theatre co.
What: Night Creature
Where: Noel Lothian Hall in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens
How Much: Full Price $23.00, Concession $20.00, Group 6+ $20.00, Artist Discount $15.00, Fringe Member $20.00
When: 9:00pm, 24 – 26 February, 1st – 5th March
The Greek myth of Scylla tells of a beautiful nymph-turned-sea monster, doomed to utter misery and wreaking havoc with all who venture near her in the treacherous Strait of Messia. Hers is a tale of longing, agony, of what could have been. Elusive and therefore pliable, this piece of mythology has been whimsically adapted into an arousing short play by UK ensemble Joanne Hartstone & Lion House Theatre. Well-recognised writer and actor Casey Jay Andrews brings elements of the story into modern-day northern England, a struggling fishing village, and a young woman who yearns.
Entering the Botanic Gardens in the darkness of night felt like being in on a secret or another world, fitting given the aim of Lion House to “…bring the magic of folklore and fantasy to contemporary stories; 21st century characters colliding with ancient myth and legend.” The performance set up is simple: Casey Jay Andrews is mesmerisingly skilful; switching between narrator and characters. She’s supported by a talented musician delivering an original score on acoustic guitar, who chips in as his own character now and then. An array of personalities, their relationships and setting of the play are all introduced on stage by an assortment of labelled bottles and crates, moved around accordingly as we progress through the narrative. In this way, rather than seeing the characters manifest on stage in their colourful entireties through actors, Andrews ignites our imaginations with her voices and poems and bottles – we are free to fill in the empty spaces with our own minds. Somehow then a more vivid and personal experience, each audience member takes away a different version of the story based on their own values or troubles. It’s like being immersed in a good book.
Lion House claims to use “poetic otherworldly adventures as allegories to confront everyday struggles” and truly, protagonist Sid’s personal journey deals with many universal, introspective questions. Within her is an unholy, pent up rage. Behind her fair visage the monster lies already; full of dissatisfaction and obscurity. But perhaps she doesn’t need to defeat her demons, perhaps they need to be accepted, brought into the light. Sid explores whether one can ever be “complete”; the power of stories to help deal with profound pain, the complexities of love and much more.
Night Creature is all I expected from a Fringe theatre production in its intimacy and allure. Lovingly and effectively crafted from every aspect, it was certainly worth selecting an intriguingly titled show with a lower profile. I left still pondering the deeper meaning of a certain line or plot point, marvelling at the simultaneous magic and humanity of the wonderful world I had been allowed to take part in for an hour.
4.5 out of 5 stars