Reviewed by Georgia Cassimatis
As soon as one walks through the door at the brand new Sydney Fringe Festival HPG Hub at Sydney Park in Alexandria, the entertainment has begun.
After being welcomed by flamingos, one gets ‘lost’ in the massive airport like hangar amongst a sensory experience of neon lights shouting ‘Sydney’, a rotating menu of various art and theatre performances, pumping music, bars and cabaret dancers walking amongst the eclectic crowd of audience goers lounging in diner like booths. It’s not until someone yells out like The Town Cryer, while banging on a bell, where the next show is to take place.
We are here to see the world premiere UNDERTAKING, billed as an interactive, psychological thriller, produced by critically acclaimed immersive production company Mongrel Mouth, where audience members make up their own ‘story’.
After given a list of very strict instructions of 14 rules; two of which includes only being able to use our phone as a torch, and being warned that extreme violence and graphic imagery may appear, we walk into what appears to be an entire floor of quite eerie, dark, abandoned office space.
Forget the fact that as an audience member one is confronted with a near naked man in bondage, bleeding behind a glass window screaming for his life. It was the moment my friend accused me of being one of the ‘actors’: ‘you’re in on this aren’t you?’ she said, slightly terrified. And therein lies the success of such a show. Who are the ‘actors’? What ‘character’ do we follow in order to solve the murder mystery? Are we close to solving the code? Someone has the right code. They’ve almost solved it. Or have they? Wait..I thought that guy was ‘one of us’…he’s not.
Without giving anything away, as two audience members are yelling behind a closed office door to get out, a few of us, satisfied with our part of having solved the mystery, decide to leave via the lift. We are, however, still suspicious of each other, as we descend to the ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ like warehouse space; only cured by a much-needed glass of red wine.
UNDERTAKING is a must-experience, unique theatrical performance. Go with a friend, and get lost in whatever ‘adventure’ it may turn out to be. You never know.
Directed, co-written and produced by Duncan Maurice with Sharon Zeeman, UNDERTAKING stars Benjamin Wang, Jasper Garner Gore, More blessing Maturure, Rizcel Gagawanan and Sharon Zeeman. With original music and lyrics by musical director David Herrero and set design by Gemma O’nions.
The 2017 Sydney Fringe Festival runs 1 – 30 September. For more information and full program, visit: www.sydneyfringe.com for details.