Fringe World Perth 2016

Fr3e, Fringe World Perth 2016

0 Comments 11 February 2016


3 stars

Parrot House

Review by Jessica Clausen

Fr3e, by the Chrysalis Theatre Company, is one of those plays that leaves you feeling a little confused — psychological thrillers tend to do that. An unstable man wearing an orange jumpsuit and a fresh wound on his head wakes to find himself locked away and fighting for his freedom. After collapsing again, the man awakes to a terrifying creature that hisses and crawls all over him, pressing and prodding at his body before eventually scurrying away.

Later, the man, now referred to as #3, awakes once more to find a man in a suit, a judge and a doctor, who accused him of murdering a man named Walter Brown. He’s tortured, interrogated and visited by mysterious guests while the judge acts as a mediator, piecing together evidence as we slowly but eventually discover the truth, and the play reaches a chaotic, bloody resolution.

An interesting premise, Fr3e uses the conventions of the thriller to create an isolating psychological exploration of these unhinged characters. From the doctor, who seems to be speaking to an imaginary person, to Odious the frustrated interrogator, to #3, who has completely lost his memory, each character seems to be representing a particular form of mental instability.

Fr3e gives us a somewhat confronting representation of mental illness that left the audience a little uncertain. Perhaps it was the unsettling nature of the show, full of pain and agony (and blood). Or perhaps it was the venue – not entirely of its own fault – and difficult weather preventing complete immersion into the play.

The Parrot House lacked the necessary acoustics to bring off even a small show like Fr3e. With actor’s murmurs sparring with the blaring air-conditioner (due to a notoriously hot Perth evening) it became an unnecessarily struggle to even catch a snippet of the dialogue between characters. This unfortunate situation turned what could have been a tense, intriguing show into an awkward venture for sound bites that was ultimately a little disappointing.

Fr3e reels you in with an unsettling vibe that’s truly fascinating to experience. Unfortunately, the performers couldn’t burst through the heat and undesirable sound issues to make the play work, and it fell flat on an interesting premise but rather dull delivery.

Fr3e runs again from Feb 18-21 at The Parrot House in Maylands. Tickets available here.

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