By Samuel J. Cox
The brainchild of Michelle Robin Anderson (who co-directs with Joe Lui and stars), ‘Welcome to Slaughter’ is about a couple that have a traumatic experience on a drive through the Australian bush under the light of a full moon. A heavy-handed metaphor for the claustrophobia you can feel in a relationship, the lion’s share of the action takes place in a beat-up Holden (craftily constructed from wood and sheets of rusty metal) to curate the feeling of being stuck with someone. It will speak to everyone who has had a broken heart, or had to break a heart.
With Jeffrey Jay Fowler as dramaturg, writing text for Anderson’s idea, the 45-minute long piece centres on Olive (Anderson) and the goofy, clingy Fawn (Jo Morris), partners who have reached a point where they been together for so long all they can see is the other’s faults.
Emily Rose Brennan enjoys the strongest writing as the spooky humanoid creature that awaits the couple in the darkness. Rustling leaves and rising from shadows, her reptilian, Kanima-esque creature is an unconvincing menace, but is amusing when attempting to convinc≥e them to break bad. Giving voice to their self-doubts and darkest thoughts, feeding their paranoia and dealing out unhelpful relationship advice, all between rasping, serpentine breathes; she is an avenging angel of death.
Brought to the stage by 11:47 Productions, the slow moving piece shows glimpses of promise, but never nears the terrifying heights of Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of ‘The Woman In Black’. Described as ‘Wolf Creek meets Rocky Horror’, it doesn’t manage to be either of these, and while the crescendo was startling, it was over all too quick.
‘Welcome to Slaughter’ runs until October 25.
Check our interview with Jeffrey Jay Fowler here.
Images by Stevie Cruz-Mratin.