Review – Chants Des Catacombes
ITS late at night, you’re at the Old Adelaide Gaol.
The beautiful, yet eerie, sounds of a violin float out into the night sky, while you look around at the other shadowy figures in the the courtyard. No, you are not seeing ghosts. These are just your fellow audience members, waiting to embark on a rare theatrical adventure.
Then, at the instruction of Bryce Ives, the Artistic Director of the company, you file into a long hallway banked by old prison cells. At the end of the hallway is a backlit staircase and all you can see is the silhouette of a girl playing a violin. What starts off as a slow and serene melody, suddenly explodes into shouting and screeching of the three lead actresses, Zoe McDonald, Anna Boulic, Laura Burzacott. The madness crescendos until it finally climaxes into a brilliant rendition of Portishead’s Glory Box.
All of that, are just the first few minutes of Chants Des Catacombes.
A poignant, eerie and musical tale about three murdered women, told in a stylised drama at an amazing venue.
This show is a theatrical masterpiece.
Ives, uses the instruments of lighting, sound and visual effects in a great combination to (literally) immerse you into the world of these trouble souls. The musical choices are excellent, with songs ranging from Laura Marling’s Ghosts to Nirvana’s Come As You Are. Zoe McDonald and Anna Boulic both excel in their roles as murdered women desperately holding on to their life stories, while Laura Burzacott impresses even more in her split role as a “man”.
My only gripe with Ives’ direction is that the show could’ve been much scarier. Although, I feel that it was an intentional choice.
Hailing from Melbourne, Present Tense is a unique theatre company. Their stated mission “is to cultivate a new generation of artists and audiences, by producing extraordinary theatre work in unusual locations“ and they certainly achieve that with this show. Something they did really well at the performance, even before it started, was taking care of the audience. Individual greeting by Ives who offered you a lolly; sangria at the entrance; drinks and cast interaction after the show with a free gigette by The Twoks. It just felt like the company were very eager to make sure you enjoy your night and more theatre groups need to pay attention to that.
Heckler recommends that this is a must see show. Even if theatre is not your thing, this is a completely different experience.
Pro-tip: Go to the 11:30 show, the Adelaide Goal is much scarier at that time of the night.