Sunday, 19 September 2004

Faith, Hope and Surveillance, Platform Youth Theatre, Sept 19, 2004

Faith, Hope and Surveillance by Ben Ellis 
Platform Youth Theatre

Yarra Edge Theatre, NMIT Fairfield, Sept 19 to  October 2, 2004

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Platform Youth Theatre has a policy to develop performance with input from young people.

For the company's latest production, Faith, Hope and Surveillance, John Britton directs the cast of twenty-five keeping the pace rapid and the landscape peopled with extras.

Before Britton's involvement, initial ideas for a play were followed by workshops with the larger company. Ben Ellis wrote the final script.

There are always hitches with any devised play. The narrative is confused and there are too many voices, parallel themes and characters with nothing explored in depth.

This is the case with Faith Hope and Surveillance.

The greatest failure in this production is the weakness of Ben Ellis's script.

His drawing together of myriad ideas produces a  superficial depiction of the modern obsession with electronic gadgets, marketing, media, satellite and camera surveillance.

It also takes a peek at the notion of the diminished responsibility of the general public that stands by en masse and does nothing to assist people in need or danger.

It pokes fun at marketing executives, security officers, live webcam websites, land clearing and surveillance of outer space.

Even the eternal quest for the perfect partner is parodied in the electronic matching device known as Love Match.

The enormous young cast works with great commitment and energy to express though theatre their concerns in the modern world.

Particular performers deserve to be commended.

Carli Jones and Link McElvenny as security officers at  Workstation - a mock Officeworks.

Angelo Esposito has presence as the epileptic camera installation guy. Bill Rogers is engaging as the 16 year old sneaking into bars pretending to be a marketing executive.

Amanda Johnson was convincing as Patricia, the face to face marketer/Roach and Jo Leishman was relaxed and focussed as the Love Match computer manager.

Soundscape by Chris Thatcher creates an evocative atmosphere and lighting (Marg Howell) and set designers (Dustin Bennett) are supported by the Platform Design Mentorship Program.

LOOK FOR:  The cafĂ© where everyone ignores the man having a fit.

By Kate Herbert

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