ANYWHERE THEATRE FESTIVAL: This violent, gritty and confronting cabaret is thoroughly enjoyable, but not for the faint of heart.
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One of the strengths of the Anywhere Theatre Festival is that the performance space can be an integral part of the performance. Instead of having to adapt a traditional theatre space, Fixate Productions have found a venue that sets the scene for their dark cabaret, Haven.

As our eyes adjust to the dim underbelly of The Rabbit Hole, they are drawn to the shape of a man slumped against the wall. Shuffling into seats (hessian covered milk crates, or something that looks like them in the half-light), nobody is game to sit in the front row. He is too close and far too intimidating. Those who come in last find themselves too near his black and white face – and the dark liquid oozing from his mouth – for comfort.

To the back of the stage a bass guitar adds undertones to the hiss of a snare drum. Our other characters emerge – a very tall man, a corseted woman with an unnerving grin and a flailing girl armed with forks. When the lights rise we start to sense their intensity and understand the intimate violence of their relationships.

The occasional clatter of bottles reminds us there is a working bar above, and we are in a confined space with four clearly disturbed people (and a two-piece band). Their gaze is direct and piercing.

While these four characters fill the confined space with their menacing forms, there is still an impressive amount of movement. This group fling each other around, embodying the violence implicit in their tone and words.

The stories are gruesome and at times hilarious (for all the wrong reasons, of course). Though the laughter is real it’s somewhat muted, with the combination of the space and menacing characters building an oppressive air. The tension in the room is tangible as we listen to a song about the joy of murder. A hessian ticket in my pocket assures me it’s a performance… but what if they were out for blood tonight?

Haven is certainly not for everyone. It is violent, gritty, confronting and resolves itself in a frenzied burst of energy before melting back into darkness. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the city’s underbelly, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Presented by Fixate Productions
The Rabbit Hole Ideation Cafe, West End
May 10 – 12 and 17 – 19

Anywhere Theatre Festival
May 10 – 19

Nerissa Rowan
About the Author
Poet, performer, publicist, writer, reviewer... Nerissa Rowan still hasn't found her true calling but she's fairly sure it involves the arts. For now she's happy to dabble at the edges of Brisbane's arts scene.