Guerilla Sabbath is a wonderfully confusing work of queer magic and history, guiding the audience through a melee of multi layered characters and worlds within worlds.
A coven of queer witches look on a world ever changing, they watch at arms length, never touching, never changing – just watching and recording. Watching a world that is always even or fair, they take on the emotional burden and remember the pain of the downcast.
William Hinz’s script combines prose and poetry to construct a lyrical world that feels beyond our own but with enough historical grounding to feel familiar. The text is ambitious and often loses itself within its own intentions.
Through lines fade with each overwritten moment and much of the character’s motivations become blurred. This being said, the work does provide the actors with exquisite language and story to get their mouths around.
George Lazaris does an impeccable job of reigning in the script – giving the work structure and pace, pose and harmony – to best smooth over the difficult areas of dialogue and enhance the ethereal otherness of the world.
Lazaris works from a clear and strong vision, a knowing of how each moment and scene needs to be played while leaving room for the audience to find their own way into and connect with the story.
Domenica Garrett, Milo Hartill, Henry Kelly, Erin Pattison, Michelle Perera, and Nikki Viveca make up a truly stunning ensemble – generous, warm, open and just a little menacing, each performer handles the complexities of the dialogue while ensuring their presence and resonance is known throughout the space.
Each performer on stage was in such control of their surroundings and themselves – physically weaving in and out of each scene and further forming their characters with each flick of a finger.
Thomas Bevans’ set and costumes are wonderfully detailed and surprising – not only serving the world but creating small moments of depth hidden in the nooks and crannies. The set is grounding, a tangible force for the characters to hold onto while the story evolves.
Each costume gives every character their own sense of self, while placing them in a time and place – further showing the everywhere and nowhere quality of the work.
Aedan Gale’s lighting design ebbs and flows seamlessly with the emotive depths of the work. Moments of light and shade parallel to give definition to each scene and create a larger expansive world in a relatively small space. Daniella Esposito’s sound design is an extraordinary force of brilliance.
Detailed, brutal and electrifying – there is not a single moment that is not made better by Esposito’s design. This truly is an artist’s work that needs to be heard to truly appreciate.
Guerilla Sabbath is a breath of fresh air within the Midsumma Festival and is a refreshingly different queer work with great potencial, just crying out for further development.
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Performance: Tuesday 27 April 2021
Season continues to 2 May 2021
Information and Bookings: www.lamama.com.au
Image: Guerilla Sabbath – photo by Darren Gill
Review: Gavin Roach