The Forever Machine, Review

The duo had me laughing from the start. The Wardrobe Ensemble appeared on the stage and immediately had the audience wondering why the auditorium lights were still shining over our head. Their announcement that the play would start “right now”, heralding in the usual stage lighting, was the first in a series clever quips on the transcendent power of timing. We followed twelve year old Phillipa on her vendetta against vegetables that unfortunately leads to a post apocalyptic world of concrete dwelling cake-cult following an uncomfortable encounter with a tyrannosaurus-rex.

While the premise seems unintelligible the Wardrobe Ensemble certainly carried it off with grace and wit. The male lead was surprisingly convincing as a overbearing mother, sassy T rex and egotistical despotic leader while our female protagonist was able to perform the young tween without the usual nauseating adult stance. The Bikeshed theatre’s space was effectively utilised with a collection of (ironically) artificial plants representing both the Jurassic period and a futuristic greenhouse. The music was very well integrated into the plot, giving the production warmth and verve. It was rather impressive to see Phillipa running from a charging dinosaur while playing the violin and singing in unison.

Overall, the production managed to appeal to all ages with slapstick comedy for the younger viewers and some subtle innuendo for adults. Despite the fantastical themes, they were able to present their clear moral message about the importance of the natural world and the dangers of fanatical autocratic leaders and the indoctrination of pliable citizens. Well, perhaps that was my own interpretation. For the younger viewers, I think they learnt to just eat up their greens.

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