Within the first ten minutes of the curtain rising on Brink Production’s Harbinger a member of the audience leaves the house. Unfortunately, it is difficult to blame the patron fleeing this thematically sparse and deliberately ambiguous production.
The pace is pedestrian and the play never really bares it teeth which results in an anaemic and slender vampire tale concerning two social misfits. Technically the production makes an attempt at finesse with a neat score by Stuart Day and excellent lighting designed by David Gadsden who manages to add a great deal of atmosphere to the bare back stage. But apart from that quality work, this is a thoroughly conventional, somewhat theatrical, plodding slog through a derivative story about a girl named Maddy (Yael Stone) who is attacked by a vampire and aided by a Good Samaritan (Nathan O’Keefe) who happens to be a shape-shifter and a poor impersonator of David Bowie. Together they spend the night searching for the monster that assaulted Maddy. Along the way we don’t learn much and we don’t particularly care what happens to the protagonists.
Director Chris Drummond seems to have been defeated by the cross genre style - comedy, thriller and horror – never really maximising the tonal variety and doesn’t effectively give the play a definitive meaning. He should be credited for selecting solid actors, some excellent design in both music and lighting and cleverly understating the set but this is not enough to save this misfiring production.
In short, Harbinger feels like a play that needs tightening and a clearer focus to explore themes with the efficacy it needs. However, even if it did improve in many areas it’s still debatable whether or not many people would want to spend any time with its slight characters.
Brink Productions presents
by Matthew Whittet
Director Chris Drummond
Venue: Space Theatre
Dates: 31 Aug - 11 Sept, 2010
Times: Evenings 7.30pm and Sat matinees 2.30pm
Tickets: $19.95 - $54
Bookings: BASS bass.net.au | 131 246 | BASS outlets