Fletcher Construction Festival Studio at The Arts Centre, Christchurch

03/09/2015 - 06/09/2015

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015

Production Details

In the fens of Eastern England they used to trap ducks in netting tunnels.

The mouth of a tunnel would be wide and tall and ducks would swim happily into it feeling no sense of threat. But as the tunnel went on it turned round corners and became lower and narrower.

The ducks paddled on until they turned a final corner and found themselves in a little netted enclosure where a duckcatcher sat patiently waiting.

In Trapped, written by Christchurch’s Joe Bennett, a barman, a butcher’s daughter and a contortionist tell the stories of their lives. They do not know each other and the unique and random details of what happened to each of them have only one thing in common. 

WHEN: Thursday 3 – Sunday 6 September, 8.30pm

WHERE: Fletcher Construction Festival Studio at The Arts Centre

TICKETS: $39 / Conc $30

BOOKINGS: | 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

DURATION: Approx 80 mins

Theatre , Circus ,

1hr 20mins (no interval)

An interesting patchwork of human behaviour

Review by Lindsay Clark 04th Sep 2015

How rapidly this venue, morphed from cinema and before that gymnasium days, has become a true theatre site where the unexpected has become the norm. It is well fitted for festival pieces where, although sight lines for those at the back must be awkward, there is real compensation in the buzz of a packed house. A first night crowd for the Loons’ latest production slips neatly into the bill of fare. 

Written by Joe Bennett and directed by Mike Friend, three separate lives are on view, each exploring in some way what it is to be trapped, in whatever sense.

A barman, putting out the empty bottles at the end of a long night, shuts himself in an inescapable alley. A circus performer finds comfort in the confines of routines and an impossibly constraining box. A young butcher plans to end an abusive relationship.

Each is played on a separate part of the stage, with glimpses cutting from one to another, building over the course of the evening into an interesting patchwork of human behaviour.

The most literal entrapment is enacted by Tom Trevella as barman Tom. It is also the most introspective as he tracks us through the minutiae of sensation and response. His droll delivery and careful understatement are often very funny as he progresses through the small hours of solitude. What it means to be alone and what it means to embrace the solitary may not be a first response to being shut in, but the neat curve of this character’s story takes us there effortlessly. 

At the other side of the stage, a butcher’s counter is at the centre of Lizzie’s world. Under the unsighted gaze of a pig’s head (Lord of the Flies anyone?) she unravels for us a bright young life spent compensating for the slackness of her butcher father, confiding in her dead mother and fantasising about the strong young lover who may or may not arrive. We hope he does.

Played with engaging sincerity by Sophie Ewert, the theme of domestic violence and its slightly creepy butcher/meat references is tellingly revealed. 

Between these two is strung the red curtain which says ‘circus act’ and sure enough, we are given a collection of reminiscences from a real ‘rubber woman’, whose first audiences were her childhood friends and her escape is from a meaningless job at a call centre. Material for this athletic performer, Skye Broberg, seems sometimes inconsequential as it hovers between stories with more direct development, but her prowess with hoop and curtain and ultimately, ironically, even more constraint earns spontaneous applause. 

There is one interlude where the focus is on Carmel Courtney, evocative saxophonist. It seems to deepen and darken the mood of the pieces, since it is at this stage that Lizzie’s dreams are most intensely conveyed. 

Inevitably perhaps, the switching between monologues, related only tenuously by a central idea, does blur the overall impact. We are all ‘trapped’ to some extent of course, by the circumstances of our lives, so these diverse accounts of how other people deal with theirs does, however, certainly make Trapped worth a visit.


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