many scenes, three acts

Last night’s preview of The Turning (adapted from Tim Winton’s The Turning) at the Playhouse Theatre created and released tension in waves and challenged all my emotions.

With over 25 scene changes, the three hour production of theatre, music, soundscapes and film followed three generations of the fictitious Lang family from 1974 – 2001. If you are aware of the history, culture, and issues of the times, then there were also various amounts of cringe factor amongst the projected West Australian landscapes and images.

The multimedia created a powerful visual and auditory experience. Unlike a background, and moving from complementary to overpowering the actors giving me the feeling that the live theatre was sandwiched between overbearing transitions such that the acting appeared thin. However, I do recognise that the film provided an atmosphere that captivated the outside largess of the West Australian landscape bringing the outside onto the stage.

We were in the stalls in Row C. If you haven’t got tickets yet, get them at least a few more rows back so that you can see all of the stage. The projection screens on each side mostly showed the same images, but when they appeared different I found that I was turning from one to the other in case I missed anything.

The timing and scene changes in combination with the multimedia were admirably tight, but the production was not 2 hours 30 minutes as stated in the festival programme, It was over 3 hours 20 minutes (including interval). So it was a taxi home as we missed the last bus home.

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