Melbourne Fringe 2012

Ballad of the Plague Doctor

0 Comments 15 October 2012

Ballad of the Plague Doctor tells the dismal story of Dr Marrok Corvus Rapere, who as a child was locked in a cellar, leading to a story turned twisted and fuelled by darkness.

At the peak of the Black Plague Dr Rapere, or the Plague Doctor as he soon becomes known, begins his “experiments” to discover the truth behind the plague. Fascinated with rats and guided by the seven archangels, Rapere’s decisions are both disturbing and cringe-worthy. His hallucinations soon lead him down a path filled with murder, revenge and disease.

The second the lights go down, audience members are entranced by the lonely figure on stage, who is dressed in an elaborate costume and painfully struggles with each and every breath. Armed with a walking stick he props himself up and begins the terrible story of Dr Marrok Corvus Rapere.

Starting off with the history of the Black Plague in 1348, the narrator depicts a perfect scene of London during that dreadful time. The story quickly shifts to a horrific story of murder (or should I say murders) and the killings are so graphic they make Dexter look like child’s play.

Due to the vivid descriptions of the script your brain is sent into imaginary overload, and as a result this isn’t a show to simply switch off and enjoy.

While the first half of the show is impressive and thoroughly mesmerising, not much happens beyond this point. The script, still unfalteringly amazing and loaded with macabre poetry, is something that should be praised to no end. However, the sound effects become mind-numbing and repetitive and Dr Marrok’s end is predictable.

In saying this, however, the acting exhibited by Alphonse Cheese-Probert is faultless and if the show was just 30 minutes shorter (instead of coming in at a lengthy 90 minutes) then it would easily keep its momentum.

Considering the main aim of The Laudanum Project is to educate and cause discomfort, Ballad of The Plague Doctor has accomplished this, and with their grim and gruesome story audience members will be left disturbed for days.

Ballad of the Plague Doctor has finished its run at the Fringe Festival.

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