Louis Nowra’s dramatic play Inner Voices is a an exploration of the “what if”.
After being proclaimed Emperor of Russia in 1740 when he was just two months old, King Ivan VI was then hustled off the throne and imprisoned for over 20 years. In reality, Ivan was killed when a couple of army officers tried to free him in an attempt to reinstate him on the throne. But in this dramatic, compelling, rich piece of theatre, Nowra explores what would have happened if Ivan hadn’t been killed, and had become the most powerful man in Russia.
Director Phil Rouse has created a thrilling, complex work, bringing together a wonderful team. The cast is incredibly energetic and committed, and all work superbly to bring Ivan’s speculative story to life. As the usurped King, Damien Strouthos has cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with. His transformation from naked, shivering, illiterate prisoner to terrifying ruler is mesmerising and disturbing. Anthony Gooley as Mirovich, master puppeteer and eater, is equally as memorable. He fills the stage both figuratively and literally, with his huge talent, and a ridiculously grotesque fat suit. Gooley possesses an astounding theatrical ability, and his comedy and creativity know no bounds. The mostly invisible Nicholas Papademetriou provides a colourful voice to the show alongside Annie Byron, Julian Garner, Emily Goddard and Francesca Savige, who all commit themselves to the darkness of the play.
Katelyn Shaw’s sound design adds another deeply disturbing dimension, and Anna Gardiner’s set is something of a marvel for the Old Fitz. Together, both use impressive restraint to perfectly capture the bleak horror of madness. Martelle Hunt’s costumes are the only sign of opulence, with dazzling attention to detail.
Rouse has been incredibly thorough with the text, making sure every single piece of comedy is explored and played with. He’s found the balance of melodrama, comedy, horror and suspense in an epic piece that feels far to big for the small Old Fitz space (in a good way).
Nowra’s play is hauntingly funny and disturbingly dark, and it creates a lot of questions without answering many of them. It’s a topical production, in that an election looms over us and we ponder the results. How will it turn out? Who will rule? Will they be for the people, or for themselves? This production is confronting, perplexing, and shouldn’t be missed.
Alana Kaye – Theatre Now
15th June – 9th July 2016
Tues – Sat 7:30pm
Venue: The Old Fitz Theatre
Theatre Company: Don’t Look Away in association with Red Line Productions
Duration: Approx 90 Minutes (No Interval)
Knowing Only his name, a boy has been locked away since childhood. He is groomed to become leader of Russia. But will chaos erupt when he gains power?
Warning: This production contains violence, course language, scenes of torture, nudity, water, smoke, haze and loud music.
Director: Phil Rouse
Cast: Annie Byron, Julian Garner, Emily Goddard, Anthony Gooley, Nicholas Papademtrieu, Anthony Gooley, Francesa Savige, and Andre De Vanny
Designers Anna Gardiner & Martelle Hunt
Lighting Designer Sian James-Holland
Sound Designer Katelyn Shaw
Production Manager: Amy Burkett
Previews & Cheap Tuesday $28
Transaction fees may apply