2nd June 2016
Author: Leah Collett on behalf of Luke Spencer
After visiting Luna Theatres launch in February I was very much looking forward to their next offering and full production ' Female Transport' by Steve Gooch.
'Female Transport' is a gritty play following the hard hitting and oppressive journey of six women and their imprisoners as they are transported to Australia after being convicted of petty crimes in 1807.
A bold choice for Luna's first offering this production was directed by the companies creator Michael Aubin and sighted within the Volcano Theatre art/ performance space. The set was well thought out and constructed with minimal and realistic detail and beautifully lit by JR Productions. The audience were invited into the space by a harpist which set the tone beautifully. The addition of this live music was carried through the piece as a motif with the use of singing intertwining with the dialogue. The use of song demonstrated some fine vocal work.
From the start it was clear the cast were connected a refreshing achievement for a new company. The six strong female cast of Casey Rowlands, Bethan Medi, Georgia Herbert, Ally Gibson, Sarah Kate Phillips and Cath Van Wyk tackled the text heavy piece well complimenting each others characters well and driving the piece with great energy levels and an excellent collective dynamic. They were well matched with their dominant male counterparts Josh Light, Ross Leyshon and Anthony Jones all of whom shone through giving intriguing facets of the male presence on board.
The production was well paced throughout with great use of tempo in particular the more dynamic scenes. With this in mind a little more clarity with diction and vocal control would have been beneficial regarding the pacing within the more emotionally charged/ physically demanding moments as given the echo of the space and the heightened intensity some fragments of the text were lost. The minimal production design allowed the audience to focus on the main aspect of the storytelling which was important due to the intensity of the script. Although the thrust staging did mask some sight lines occasionally the cast explored the space fully allowing some beautiful physically free moments particularly the end scene making a moving impact with the lightness of feathers after the dark heaviness of the journey. Congratulations Luna Theatre on a well thought out and executed piece I look forward to your future work and your journey as a new company.