Woodcourt Art Theatre
The Coffee Pot
Until 08 Mar 2014

Review by Brian Godfrey

Having now reviewed four out of five Woodcourt Art Theatre Fringe shows, this reviewer has a great respect for the company. They are young, talented, original and excel in what called be called ‘laid back’ theatre.

Based on a short story by Kirby Medway (who is also one of the central characters) and directed by Sanja Simic, “Encounter” is basically an homage to and gentle send-up of the horror/supernatural genre.

While taping ambient sounds in a park for a ‘puff’ piece, journalist Medway encounters a man who has, literally, been running for 20 years. His reason for this is that back then a creature started following him. What follows becomes somewhat of a study of Man and what constitutes his fear, and what exactly makes an unknown creature any different from us – maybe we are the real creatures!

Simic uses many original ideas and unusual quirks to make this production wonderfully different and entertaining: the actors are discovered chatting in a corner as the audience walk into the acting space; the technician is stage manager, prop master, sound and lighting tech and actor all rolled into one; the first five to ten minutes is voice only narration, heightening our suspense of what is going to happen; and we are constantly reminded, by various means, that this is a play and the characters are actors.

The cast - Solomon Thomas, Mark Rogers and Gretchen Habermann – all display excellent performance and timing skills, making this yet another gem from Woodcourt’s goldmine. Hopefully they will return for next year’s Fringe.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)