Moving TargetMoving Target at the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts is a world premiere written by Germany’s Marius von Mayenburg and directed by Adelaide’s Benedict Andrews. It is thought-provoking contemporary theatre, both bold in style and content.

The stellar ensemble of actors, Matthew Whittet, Rita Kalnejais, Alison Bell, Robert Menzies, Julie Forsyth and Hamish Michael portray six people in a room. Their reason for being there is not certain but here is a feeling of unease. This lightens for a while as the familiar game of hide and seek is played. The room offers few hiding places which generates amusing images and situations as the people become ever more inventive. The game becomes incessant, punctuated with apparently unrelated and slightly unnerving tales of carpet stains and packages being deposited in the shopping centre bin.

The fractured style of the play gives a sense of disorientation adding to the unease but the audience is encouraged to let this roll while the laughter is drawn out as each game becomes more ridiculous. In contrast to the game playing Andrews and the rest of the creative team successfully accumulates disquieting images amid the madness of hiding under carpets and inside cushions and couches. There’s a splintered focus among the people, conjuring a familiar feeling of our times – a pervading fear that stealthily slips between the cracks. This contrast between play and an unnameable horror doesn’t take long to quell the laughter. As the play progresses a blanket of unease is pulled over the stage and audience. This sense is communicated with a vision that is bold in voice, physicality, light, space and sound – an inspired weave of theatrical elements.

The work's fragmented structure, reflects the play’s depiction of the current era of terror and suspicion. The splintered nature of the text is supported by the performances, staging and Paul Jackson’s lighting design as the six people interact with the ever present contrast between children’s games and adult paranoias and sometimes unfounded suspicions.

The storytelling and montage of images does draw together at the end, making the whole experience all the more unsettling. Moving Target is very much a comment on the times. The content is unnerving with a presentation style to match but how exciting to have theatre on stage now, that is reflective of the world in which we live.

Moving Target
by Marius von Mayenburg

Venue: Odeon Theatre | cnr Queen Street and The Parade, Norwood
Preview: 28 February, 7:30pm - tickets $35
Dates/Times: 29 February, 1, 4–8 March, 7:30pm; 2 March, 6pm
Duration: 90 mins approx
Tickets: Adult $49, Friends $42, Conc $35, Fringe Benefits $25

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