Adelaide Fringe: Wake In Fright

Wake In Fright. Photo by Melanie Audrey.
Wake In Fright. Photo by Melanie Audrey.

I must admit that I was a bit sceptical about seeing this show, given that I’m a huge fan of the 1970s film and also of the original book. I wondered, how the hell Yabba Productions could follow-up such fine previous forms of the (same titled) work. But I was nicely surprised and I’m now a huge fan of their theatre production, too.

The team of eight are awesome. There is not a weak link in the group (actors and musician). From the word go, when this tight and cohesive ensemble walk out together into the earthy outback set we are drawn into this earlier time (yet current feel) adventure. We are on edge; experiencing the threatening culture and lurking danger that hangs uncomfortably over the main characters story.

And if you don’t know this story, you should! It’s a bloody classic piece of ocker art, just brilliant; and Yabba condense, cleverly adapt, turn the volume up on the intensity and stakes and throw it at us, hard, in a stylised, professional manner.

[pull_left]It is clear that this production has been carefully thought out and wonderfully blocked and choreographed; every minute detail executed precisely and with verve[/pull_left]

Teacher John Grant loses all his money in a two-up game, goes on a drinking bender of massive proportions, falls in with the wrong crowd and descends into absolute drunken chaos when he passes through Bundanyabba – a rough and tough outback Aussie town.

Yabba productions have gone sinister in their adaptation of the hard-hitting but dark and funny journey; outside forces closing in on our protagonist all the way thorough, becoming more surreal and dangerous with every moment until the final jolt – the confronting, manipulated sexual encounter that brings to the forefront how heavy drinking can make one so very vulnerable. And this issue is as topical and relevant now, as any time before.

There is excellent work from the director here. It is clear that this production has been carefully thought out and wonderfully blocked and choreographed; every minute detail executed precisely and with verve.

I gather that this theatre company formed for this production (re: their name’s relevance to the play’s location). With their innovative approach, excellent direction, guitar soundscape and acting – and the damn fine end result, I reckon that they should tour this one, and produce lots more theatre.

Yabba Productions – welcome to Adelaide Fringe. If you haven’t gathered –  I loved your version of Wake in Fright.

Stephen House

Stephen is a writer with numerous plays, exhibitions and short films produced. He has been commissioned often and directs and performs his work. He has won two AWGIE Awards from The Australian Writers Guild and an Adelaide Fringe Award (as well as more), and has received several international literature residencies. Stephen has been Artistic Director of many events. He has been performing his acclaimed solo show, “Appalling Behaviour” nationally from 2010 – 2014 (100 shows to date). Stephen has 2 new works in development.

Stephen House

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