Theatre Review: Terrestrial

Annabel Matheson (Liddy) Pat Jhanur (Badar) by Kate Pardey.jpg
Annabel Matheson (Liddy) Pat Jhanur (Badar) by Kate Pardey

What:Terrestrial

Who: State Theatre Company

When: 23rd May – 2nd June

Where: Space Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse

How much: $30.00 – $76.00 (see site for full details)

State Theatre Company’s latest production Terrestrial has had its preview performances at Flinders University earlier this month. Having read the intriguing play description, I jumped at the opportunity to see it. Prior to the two week season of Terrestrial at the Space Theatre in the Dunstan Playhouse, the production was performed regionally with the support of Country Arts SA in towns including Port Pirie, Whyalla and Roxby Downs.

Liddy has recently escaped with her mother to a remote mining town in South Australia where she meets Badar. The 15-year-olds share their love for the extra-terrestrial and despite Liddy’s aloof nature, the amiable Badar is convinced that they would make great friends. Together, the pair explore their near-deserted town in the starry night until sunrise, sharing previous alien encounters and future aspirations. When Badar disappears suddenly one night, Liddy is interrogated. She must separate her fantasies from reality to discover what happened to her only friend.

One of the most compelling aspects of Terrestrial is the dialogue between Liddy and Badar. Written by Fleur Kilpatrick, winner of the Jill Blewett Playwright Award, their juvenile banter has a distinct Aussie intonation and humour which sent ripples of laughter throughout the audience. The relaxed discourse the two teenagers have upon meeting evolves into more serious discussions as tensions surrounding the town’s fate increases. Badar faces losing his only home, yet Liddy is unsympathetic, having never had a place to call home to begin with.

Annabel Matheson (Liddy) by Kate Pardey.jpg
Annabel Matheson (Liddy) by Kate Pardey

Terrestrial retains a fast pace throughout that continues to gain momentum as Liddy’s mind begins to unravel. This quickening pace is visually depicted on stage effectively through rapid lighting transitions. The stage shifts from the harsh fluorescent lighting of the bare interrogation room to the starlit rural night sky, the backdrop of Liddy and Badar’s adventures.

Staged in the space theatre, the production is more captivating than when presented on a conventional elevated stage. On the whole, I found Terrestrial an enjoyable and worth-while theatrical experience.

4 out of 5 stars

Milly Farmer

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