The Farce Awakens (Folly Games)
The Museum of Brisbane
May 12 – 20
After six years of growing at the Woodford Folk Festival, The Game World of Folly Games is branching out to defeat dullness in the Museum of Brisbane. And it is here where participants gather for a preshow briefing from The Director as to the unique nature of the immersive theatre experience, which sees the museum reimagined as a smaller-on-the-inside inter-dimensional spaceship, piloted by a group of hyper-intelligent cyborgs on a quest to study the mysterious threat of a terrifying, contagious disease known as the dull.
With assigned character cards, we are then let loose to seek out our respective character and explore the world by going from room to room in which events and stories are unfolding. What you see is up to you, as is your level of involvement; you may end up putting your life on the line; it’s no big deal if you die, you just surrender your life card and seek out the large black bird of Death (Nick Wiggins) for resurrection for price of a joke or dance).
My character is actress Marilyn Minuit (Claire McFadyen) who, along with fellow shady character Moby Rick (Josh Nixon), is always on the lookout for a good business opportunity as part of the Big Hat Rail Company. However, I soon find myself instead following the royal rules of the Elizabogans, Queen Champers (Gabbi Davis) and her King Keiff (Tyler Willian Morrisson), complete with right royal thongs, in their quest to respond to the Magician’s (Callum Pulsford) newspaper claims that the King’s reign is illegitimate.
Once initial confusion passes, it is easy to follow and fall into the rhythm of the intermingled stories and it is wonderful both to see the response of children in the audience to the energy of the characters and the increasingly involvement of bigger kids as they become more comfortable. Unfortunately, my attempts were met with execution from the King for badly written poetry to assist in moving their regal love higher on the loveometer.
Over the course of the 90 minute(ish) show, there is much to look at, listen to and appreciate, full as it is with pop culture references from “Julius Caesar” to “Star Wars”. In this instance, as the story unfolds (from its multiple possible endings), the Magician takes over from the Game Master as absolute ruler, until challenged by frog Frogo (Josh Bell-Mcnee), with key events bringing all the characters, stories and audience members back to a central location at intervals, ensuring that a clear narrative messages is shared.
All of the show’s performers are completely committed in their characterisations throughout interactions with audience members as much as each other. However, as the King, Morrison is a most memorable stand-out, always witty in his in-character comebacks and keep of Keiff’s ocker vocal style.
“The Farce Awakens” is unlike anything else, making for a never-dull evening ‘at’ the theatre. Even those unfamiliar with or initially reluctant towards engaging in its immersive nature, will find its spirit infectious. Indeed, its audience interaction should not be shied away from but rather embraced with an open attitude and join in the fun of the parody, pop-culture and puzzle at play.