Players Review: Phonogram

Facts?

Phonogram, 5PM @ DU Players

What?

Phonogram is ostensibly just a quirky, immersive evening of indie antics directed by the affable beardy men, Matthew O’ Dwyer and Richard Durning. In the context of student drama society DU Players though, it’s a first. This interactive theatre quest tracks seven lovers, loners, losers and legitimately unhinged adolescents through the teenage wasteland that is Players Theatre. All the way up, and all the way down, hold on to your conscience, your cool clothes and your dignity as you dance your way into the mutual braingasm of Durnwyer.

Confused? Try the show on for size, mate!

Have you got anything helpful to say?

What? Oh. No.

Be a good person.

I mean, did you like it?

I did. To design a twelve-person performance over two stories, complete with (mostly) functioning AV and a consistent feeling takes chops. If that feeling is dizzy, then good, being a teenager is tough, man. Directed to spec, I think this show could be wonderful. Unfortunately the sheer size of the building poses mechanical problems that cut up the dramatic action in a disorienting way. There were aspects of the production I felt were half-realized. The set designs were individually uninteresting and the costumes failed to realize the potential of the graphic novel, but that’s only to be expected. A project this ambitious is going to need to be fine-tuned to the nth-degree before it really comes to fruition. Oh yeah, the graphic novel! Matthew made a great effort to take a niche comic interest and turn it into a relatable show that appealed to its audience. I was less keen on the soundtrack, which seemed a little garbled. The videos though, were great. Not even one of them blue screened or said INPUT in colossal cunt letters, and I thought that one video in particular was beautiful. Despite some overacting, the cast were cool, committed and clearly glad to be there. I was impressed by the more nuanced performances by Abigail Clarke and Laoise Murray, who clearly saw the difference between audience interaction and stage conversation and, coincidentally, spoke loud enough for me to hear them. And I’m the one that matters, me. They dealt easily with the logistics of moving the raving crowd before them and deftly saw us through their teenage nightmare.

Final thoughts?

I struggled to understand, but had a whale of a time despite that.

That sounds like your life story.

Yeah. Juggling the narrative (which I struggled to comprehend) and the building was a bridge too far for Phonogram, but it was a fun filled if neurotic night in the club, and I love to dance, baby. So see you there!

Who were you?

Col.

Are you okay man, you seem a bit manic?

Sure.

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