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Toorak Times: KaBooM

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See article in its original context here by Lisa Romeo for the Toorak Times.

Kaboom is about war, about true individuals who have fought on the frontline, and who have been forced to leave their country to escape conflict in the attempt to build new lives in Australia.

The show’s aim is to position the audience as witnesses to the atrocities of war, and the stories told touch upon some of the world’s greatest disasters – the Holocaust, the Vietnam war, Saddam Hussein’s army, the explosion of a Russian Navy ship in WWI that took the lives of over 600 men – right through to stories from commandos in the Israeli Army.

Seven independent theatre directors each create their own theatrical piece, tied together by the very powerful acting of Deborah Leiser-Moore who is the centre piece of each story, and delivered by the use of screen projections, video and television. There is no fourth wall in this production and the intent is to engage and involve the spectators by channelling them from one intimate space to the next, each set with its own props, thus creating a series of short and gripping events.

All of the stories are deeply personal reflections and memories; one feels the damage that has been done, the suffering and pain, both physical and psychological. These emotions are portrayed by the use of documentary style interviews, physical dramatics, and multimedia that combine with the natural elements in the room – the water, hay, smoke, dirt and dust.

The sound design by composer Bigtoxic is an outstanding feature of this show. Its pulsating and raw sonic waves are piercing and fill you with grimness and dejection. The lighting design also works extremely well in creating an overall bleak atmosphere.

There were also many stand-out visually artistic moments, such as the shadows created by the aerial acrobatics behind a large projector screen; the special lighting effects here were superb. However there was a little too much reliance on media that was not quite as groundbreaking as it could have been, given today’s technology.

The constant activity and redirecting of the audience from space to space was at times disengaging, and some of the placement of visual settings lost the intended impact (the large crowd were not all provided with a full view). But whilst the physicality of the show may have distracted us somewhat, there was a definite stirring of emotions in the room, even some tears were detected.

Kaboom is brave and adventurous in trying to capture seven stories by seven directors in the one show, but realistically there was too much to be said in each and not enough time to carry it through with the force anticipated. None the less it is a unique theatrical experience that without a doubt has you thinking about the devastation of the past and the sad realisation of war currently taking place in several corners of the globe.

 

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