Printable CopyRHINOCEROS
Queen's Theatre
Until 11 Mar 2012

Review by Celeste Villani

When a herd of rhinoceros rampages through a provincial French town for no apparent reason, many locals are worried about their presence. Some are perplexed, some are scared and many individuals cannot fathom as to why these creatures are amongst them. When another rhinoceros tears through the city, this time killing a women’s beloved cat, Victoria’s 5pound Theatre Group take the audience on an exhilarating journey. The audience discover why these animals have appeared, what their purpose is and why people of the town are choosing to morph into the strange creatures.

Written by Eugène Ionesco, the absurdist play has WW2 undertones that can be directly related to the Nazi, Communist and Fascist movements of the time. The rhinoceros are a metaphoric representation of individuals involved in the mentioned regimes, and as the play progresses, more people join and thus, morph into this animal.

Unlike many traditional shows, the show’s producer, Susannah Frith, and director, Jason Cavanagh opt for a different stage set-up with parts of the set arranged around the audience. Although some of the action occurs on the stage, much of the dialogue occurs around the audience. This was most definitely a highlight of the show as viewers are invited to indirectly interact with the actors who perform around them. Before the show begins a French waiter, played by Giuseppe Mauceri, engages in conversation with viewers. During the first scene of the show he cleans around them as Berenger (David John Watton) and Jean (Jason Cavanagh) quarrel, making the audience feel involved in the scene. Sound effects in this show are exemplary, and while only used when the rhinoceros’ rampage, they provide the show with an extra dimension. The rumbling sounds of the rhinoceros shakes the ground and is well received by the audience, some who smile and others who look a little frightened.

David John Watton is a fantastic performer and his interpretation of misunderstood and drunkard Berenger is fantastic. He interacts well with the cast, shows emotion very clearly and sound voice projection allows him to very easily be heard amongst the background noise from other shows.

The actors all move very well, however it is acrobats Morgane Linday and Nick Rothlisberger that steal the show. They perform sequences on aerial silks and bend their bodies in ways that some people didn’t know was possible – it is very visually entertaining.Being opening night, there were a few glitches. The set is 2D and comprises of cartoon like pictures printed onto a flimsy cardboard. Although this is visually appealing, when the backdrop falls over, the audience divert their attention elsewhere and lose interest in the scene. Something to ensure the set remains upright is advised for future performances.

Rating 4.5 (out of 5) stars