Fugitive is truly a piece of theatre for the new generation – with its filmic atmosphere, topical subject matter and ambitious plot, it will have any apathetic teenager dropping their smartphone and signing up for drama classes.
One third of Windmill Theatre’s highly-anticipated Festival trilogy, Fugitive follows the story of a modern-day Robin Hood and his merry men in a dystopian wasteland. The project capitalises on the modern obsession with dystopia, but with an entirely unique approach to the genre, using much more comedy and silliness than the audience would expect. The comedy is a little hit-and-miss, occasionally crossing the line from youth-focused to childish and dipping into the too-easy comedic pool of jokes about bodily functions. For the most part, however, the comedy balances well with the angst and tension of the story, and easily keeps the audience engaged for the duration of the 80-minute show. In fact, it’s a shame the show isn’t longer, both because the audience seemed to be hungering for more and because the current ending seems sudden and underdeveloped. This is particularly clear when compared to the high standard of the rest of the production.
The intense, emotive performances by the talented cast contribute a sense of gritty realism to the show. Eamon Farren is perfect for the role of Robin Hood; he seems to have mastered the mysterious, dangerous demeanour and will likely have teenage girls swooning all over Adelaide. He should also be praised for his obvious chemistry with Kate Cheel, who performs the role of Marion with the perfect balance of sass and heartbreak, despite a few wobbles during the show’s demanding stage fighting scenes. The rest of the cast, consisting of Patrick Graham, Carmel Johnson, Peter Houghton and Danielle Catanzariti are just as engrossing – in fact, audience members could be heard asking if Catanzariti was really a young boy after all, despite her name and picture in the programme.
The sound, lighting and costuming for the project are also outstanding; without these elements, Fugitive would be an entirely different show. The lighting in the show is incredibly versatile, and is able to transition seamlessly from pleasant, dappled sunlight to hectic strobes and flashes. With a soundtrack that feels like it came from a blockbuster and costumes that seem organic, realistic and true to their characters, the creative team have created a cohesive design for the show that perfectly enhances the efforts of the cast and director.
Perfect for the young and young at heart, Fugitive is a refreshing and fun addition to this year’s Festival line-up. Be prepared for a few unanswered questions, but also be prepared for something exciting; a little bit Tomorrow When the War Began, a little bit Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and a little bit of something completely new.