Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

19/10/2017 - 21/10/2017

Hamilton Fringe 2017

Production Details

Four experts find themselves locked in quarantine after opening a mysterious item. Why are they sealed in? Can they break out? Can they survive?

Apocalypse Lounge presents a long-form improvised horror show. Every performance is unique. No one knows what will happen next. Not even the cast.

The Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st October 2017
$20 full – $15 concession
For tickets and bookings visit: themeteor.co.nz  

Theatre ,

1 hr

A whacky, fun piece

Review by Gail Pittaway 20th Oct 2017

Apocalypse Lounge is a writing and acting group that always makes a bit of a splash at the Hamilton Fringe Festival with satirical and quirky plays, often with elements of improvisation. This year’s theatre offering from the group (one of their main writers, and director of this production, Ross McLeod is also offering a workshop on “Shaking up Shakespeare” on Saturday 21 at 1pm) involves four ‘experts’ who get locked in quarantine unexpectedly − only it’s a different circumstance every night. As the Fringe programme blurb states, “No-one knows what will happen next. Not even the cast.” 

Last night’s four experts have been summoned to a research lab to investigate a strange object. They are art historian, Janet (Abigail Simpsons), ornithologist Greg (Grant Hughes), IBM technician, Zoe (Caroline Harting) and Maria (Caroline Waugh) who has no particular expertise but is the daughter of the powerful owner of the laboratories. Early on Maria accuses Janet of being her father’s lover and that as the only reason she had been called in.  

The object is a rock, which develops egg like qualities and subsequent potential for hatching. However, it has other qualities which are picked up by the laboratory sensors as being a biological threat, also detected by the olfactory abilities of the four experts, not scientific testing, as exuding a smell, at first of pancakes then in wild contradiction, of Rotorua’s air. Whatever the identity of the object, it’s trouble – and off go the alarms and the lights.  Bang go the locks. 

This is all part of the unexpected and improvisational nature of the piece and makes for some great funny and silly moments. Such as when the first aid kit is shown to be ill-equipped, with pathetic dust masks with weak head bands, or when Maria pulls out head lamps with weak bulbs and puts one on upside down. Once they go into survival mode, there is only one bottle of diet coke, an old bottle of water and one other of some other laboratory substance to drink, while the four are quarantined, indefinitely.   

Added to this is a lot of electrical interference, a strange shrieking sound through the external vents, and growing tensions between the personalities who each begin to demonstrate paranoia, extreme and unwarranted calm or physical discomfort – all because of the effects of the strange object.  No sooner have they, with their combined ‘expertise’, decided it is an egg than it begins to hatch in the extremely warm conditions of the closed down laboratory. Maria’s daddy doesn’t seem interested in saving her and Janet, whose unnatural smugness seems to have been because she was sure he would save her too, is also left perplexed.

What happens on the other nights is anyone’s guess but it won’t be pretty. With good technical support from Jonathan Wilce to produce scary effects of sci fi horror and laboratory lockdown, each night is sure to be entertaining. 

This is a whacky, fun piece – just right for the Fringe − and also demonstrating some great comic talent from Caroline Waugh, good straight man work from Grant Hughes and consistent and strong characterisation from Abigail Simpsons and Caroline Harting. 


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