I write to you from and strange place full of dark and weird and wonderful happenings. Following is an account of my time at the Rusalka Lodge. Use it wisely.
The Blue Room…mmm…it still has ‘theatre smell’; hot dust, paint and hairspray. Myself and a hoard of others (this Rusalka place is very popular) meander through the doors to the theatre to find…what?...not a theatre, but a place of mystery. An old holiday lodge shrouded in mist and moss but somehow I knew it was still a stage. It only took 5 minutes though, and I was transported to the Lodge by some strange force. Sucked in through that notorious fourth wall by the story, the characters, the acting. Things like this do not usually happen to this reviewer…either someone spiked my drink, or ‘The Rusalka Thread’ is a damn fine piece of theatre. I highly suspect the latter.
I remember a woman with strange blonde hair. She is something like the lovechild of a crazy old Russian cat lady and Magenta from Rocky Horror. She has fantastic gumboots. This is Oda Aunan – Freya, the Lodge landlady - who absolutely makes the show. Her movement is fantastic. Her comic timing is fantastic. She made me laugh so much I can think of no suitable adjective. She has an energy that sucks everyone’s attention in to her. Freya and her trusty companion Nicolai rule the stage. Jo Morris is twitching, mouse-like and waifish as Imogen – also a complete and utter pleasure to watch - and Skye Sobejko (Sophia…or is she?) works her subtle but haunting voice and sharp movement to great effect.
The entire cast and crew of The Rusalka Thread know exactly what they are doing, and they do it well. To get this level of ‘gelling’ between sound, costume, lights, set, actors, directors etc, for everything to be at a level that it works seamlessly well together, must require a team of people who are very dedicated to their art, and have got to known each other inside out. Maybe this is a good time to advertise the positive outcome of a work shopped piece of theatre? Every detail of costume matched with a quirk of the character wearing it – it gives clues to who they ‘really’ are. Jo Morris’s dresses are fragile, flimsy and mostly floral. They look like they would smell musty. Skye Sobejko’s well tailored ensemble is boyish, retro and dashing. In fact, she looks a bit like Adam Ant from the cover of the Prince Charming record (Um, not that I would know…), and this is a good thing! I could go on, analyzing how colour, shape, fabric, garment relate to character traits but I’d give away the story.
The writing…what can I say? It’s a dream – a beautiful dream. Jeffrey Jay Fowler: What type of drugs have you been on? Endless thanks to you for writing exactly what freaks like me adore to see/read. If I didn’t already have one, I would marry your mind. It is not often one sees a piece of local, great theatre that doesn’t have its head up its own backside that would also make a fab film as well. Go for it! Make a B grade cult horror! (Please call me when you plan on doing this)
There is nothing left to say. The Rusalka Thread is deliciously creepy, freaky and twisted. It’s so ‘together’. It’s seamless. It’s So. Very. Funny. What type of person stays in at night when there is theatre like this in the Winter Arts Festival?
Only one teeny tiny issue…Nicolai did not get up for a bow. In such a great show, everyone should have the opportunity to be applauded! Don’t just sit there trying to understand that statement…go and see it! Immediately.
Hurrah Rusalka Thread! You have blown me away.
The Rusalka Thread
Venue: The Blue Room Studio | 53 James Street Northbridge
Dates: 24 June - 12 July
Times: Tues - Thurs @ 6:30pm; Fri & Sat @ 6:30pm and 9:15pm; (Fri 27th & Sat 28th @ 9:15pm only)
Bookings: (08) 9227 7005 / www.pacs.org.au