Antillia 1

Antillia

by Liam Ormsby

Adelaide Fringe 2015, Odeon Theatre

Director: Toby Rice

Cast: Kieran McNamara, Krystal Brock, Vince Fusco, Georgie Pile & Adam Cirillo 

Winner: Inaugural Adelaide Fringe Holden St Theatre Award

 

All that seperates us are walls.

Walls between classes, walls between races,

walls between neighbours.

The walls of Antillia are all that's

holding it together and they're about

to be torn down.

The manipulation of the citizenry by politicians and media barons alike through the use of fear, especially of the kind generated by forces far away, is a staple of the western world; it comes with the morning milk. Antillia is a country, part Australia and part not, that is increasingly closing itself off to the outside world to keep such baddies away but as we join the cast, playing corporate up and comers and in their late twenties they delight in their schemes to keep the good things from the outside coming.
On their apartment’s small rear lawn Geoff (Kieran McNamara) and Michaela (Krystal Brock) are preparing a BBQ lunch for their friends, Anton (Vince Fusco) and Chloe (Georgie Pile.) A part of the reason for the gathering is to show off the massive new brick wall Geoff has constructed to help protect against ‘them’. However, violence erupts in nearby streets and soon after their afternoon is hijacked by a gate crasher (Adam Cirillo). From there the fears of beyond get very much turned into the fears within; exactly those types our politicians and media don’t much like holding a mirror up to.
Waxing Lyrical is a local production company and this working by Toby Rice as director, of Liam Ormsby’s play is somewhat flawless. McNamara as a control freak, menacing and delightful as it suits, is superb. Pile’s Chloe as an intelligent but domineering spouse similarly crafts mixes of charm with venom and Adam Cirillo is a study of being the face of evil, denied the voice that may present another side to his world.
It is great to see that amongst the drudge of the Garden and Croquet Club the Fringe can still produce the type of production for which it was always intended. If there is one fault in Antillia it is the team has under-estimated the potential audience appeal of the show. This theatre cannot be recommended too highly – extraordinarily strong in all its elements.

Kryztoff Rating 5K
— Peter Maddern, Kryztoff.com
A crisp barbecue setting greets the audience; grass, decking, cool water, and an inviting breeze. There is a freshness to the set design that plants the suggestion of calm in the mind. However, the flutter of a curtain and a painting of a raven pique the interest that there are more pressing issues ahead than burning the sausages. A recording of Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis 2 is an early sign of Kafka’s influence at work; appropriate, as it turns out that residing in Antillia is a gigantic elephant. And it’s in the room.
There’s almost thirty minutes of development before we are given some hints that all is not as it seems. Relax through the early storytelling which leans heavily on exposition; you’ll need all your mental gymnastic skills for the remaining gripping hour.
Kieran McNamara excels as the wholly unlikeable character Geoff, a Ralph Lauren clad tool. McNamara’s vocal range is impressive; quiet malevolence and explosive ranting are equally clear, and equally disturbing. His pretty wife Michaela (Krystal Brock) evokes a lamentable empathy, and spars neatly with Georgie Pile as Chloe who brings a flirty charisma to the proceedings. Vince Fusco rounds out the dining quartet with a stellar performance as Anton. Adam Cirillo as Shaun delivers the gold standard of communication with very little dialogue; he is excellent as Shaun. See Antillia for his eye-speak alone.
The ensemble work well together and some dialogue trips on opening night did not widely distract from the intriguing tale. Written and produced by Liam Ormsby, the script is interesting, well conceived, and with some clever one-liners delivered superbly. Late in the piece, the amount of time dedicated to dissent between characters does not serve to build the intensity further (the glass can’t be more full). It becomes uncomfortably too much, but this is, perhaps, the point.
Sean Ormsby’s seamless lighting and sound add fluency to this quality production. The world created by director and designer Toby Rice is fascinating. Rice incorporates just the right dose of technology and pathos to deliver an impressive, if somewhat harrowing, production.
I do not recommend you seek to learn more about the plot than the creators have divulged; take a leap and you might just find yourself considering the experience for the rest of the Fringe.
If you like your dinner parties with secrets, lies, fear, jealousy, cruelty and schadenfreude (and who doesn’t?), go in all “ethnic-like”, and book for Antillia. It comes with sides of confrontation, intensity, and suspense.

Rating out of 5: 4
— Emily Morris, Glam Adelaide