Station House Opera, Mind Out

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

Mind Out certainly lives up to its title. In Station House Opera’s latest piece, five performers occupy the minds and thoughts of each other to a level never before seen! They each take control over the actions and dialogue of one of their fellow performers. Sounds simple. But in the hands of Station House Opera – a company with decades of experience, who have made a name for themselves as challengers of theatre and performance conventions – this turns into a supremely complex performance which is often hilarious, sometimes brilliant, and always impressively delivered.

The five performers occupy a near-empty room and direct each other to perform a range of mundane tasks. As the piece builds, these eventually turn into malicious and violent outbursts – Tom Bowtell attempting to hang himself from a rope, and an ice-cream cone thrown smack at the wall top the bill for me.

Director Julian Maynard Smith has created an intricate set-piece which is performed charmingly and delicately throughout. Ultimately, though, the piece doesn’t pack the punch it sets up for itself in the first two-thirds. As tensions and ridiculous situations grow, the idea of psychological manipulation develops but never amounts to much more than a very clever and excellently executed game.

What is lacking is the group’s breaking of their own rules in order to really question how people influence and control one another. A great premise which needs to be pushed to another level in order to reach the dizzying emotional punch overall which it potentially could, and which its comedic elements do so well.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 27