Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 26 October 2017
Book of Exodus Part II *** Oct 19, 2017
Created by Adena Jacobs &
Aaron Orzech, by Fraught Outfit
Theatre Works, until Oct 29, 2017 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:*** Review also published in Herald Sun Artson Thurs Oct 26, 2017 in print only. KH
The cast of fifteen children works very hard in Book of Exodus Part II, an abstract,
physical interpretation of Exodus, the second book of the Old Testament.
Jacobs’ production, developed with Aaron Orzech, takes literally the notion of
‘The Children of Israel’ by casting children as the Israelites who escape Egypt
led my Moses, roam the desert and invoke the wrath of Yahweh when they worship
a false idol.
The cast captures a sense
of the tribe’s disorientation, unruliness and desperate need of the leadership of
Moses or Yahweh to lead them out of the desert and provide them with purpose.
Part I of Book of Exodus included
surtitles explaining narrative and characters, but Part II has no such
explication so relies on theatrical imagery and some visually engaging
The performance is episodic,
with children performing scenes that distil the stories into simple, repeated, ritualistic
They begin in sleeping bags
on the gleaming, black floor then rise to weave through the space as if lost in
They strip to shorts and
singlets, then run, chase, murmur, whisper and scream – all without dialogue,
apart from a few words spoken by one child.
They spill black powder,
spreading it over their skin and the ground then, in imagery that exaggerates
the notion that they are infants, they suck on babies’ bottles or drink from a
complicated tubal feeding system attached to one child who may depict Moses.
They jump frantically to
reach a rack of feeding nipples lowered from above, but finally, exhausted by
their failed efforts to drink from this device, they degenerate into feverish,
Although they work hard,
the children appear to have limited connection to the story so the Exodus myth
remains confusing and incoherent; even those familiar with Exodus may not
penetrate the symbolism.
production is so opaque and obtuse that the compelling stories of Exodus are
unrecognisable and the outcome is ultimately unsatisfying theatre.