Night Slows Down is an invitation by bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company and writer/drector Phillip James Rouse to imagine a world that may be only a moment away. Rouse began writing the play in the aftermath of what was considered inconceivable to millions when the thin-skinned and vain Trump was elected president. A shining hour for the hot-headed buffoon, now in one of the most powerful seats of power, Night Slows Down takes us on a journey of a similar far right of intolerance and ignorance when intolerance grows to fear and violence and raises disbelief from all other factions.
The play’s setting is deliberately vague, it is set in an English-speaking country that has reached a tipping point where innocent civilians are rounded up and shot, a brutal reminder of Nazi-inflicted genocide resonating with audiences. Sharon’s younger brother Seth has previously been an aimless sort but has now joined a blood-thirsty political party where he moves quickly through the ranks, acquiring a dangerous level of ambition and power. Sharon is installed to work for him but she is in conflict almost immediately as his true colours are revealed and the extreme level of Seth’s party and practices become untenable for her. When her partner Martin is unfairly imprisoned she appeals to Seth for his release.
The brilliance of the production is the constant threat, which escalates throughout, that is played out behind closed doors with Sharon and Seth reeling from the impending doom outside without any direct evidence of it for the audience to see. Beautiful set design provides what appears to be an elegant boardroom. We feel the impending terror through Sharon though, in her urgent appeals to her brother. Danielle King is mesmerizing as Sharon, her concerns are gut-wrenching, King plays the fear with a vivid veracity. Andre de Vanny is excellent as Seth morphs from misguided youth to (even more) misguided politician almost drunk on his own power. Johnny Nasser plays Martin in a consummate performance that takes us on Martin’s journey, which is the most harrowing of all three.
Ultimately the cancer that is racism and intolerance is not going to get better by wishing it away. It will only be addressed when more writers take Rouse’s lead and expose the ill effects of the corrosive new world order that we will see a better future.
Night Slows Down is in at the Kings Cross Theatre and is presented by Don’t Look Away in conjunction with bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company. On until 9 December, for more information and tickets see: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/night-slows-down
Featuring: Andre de Vanny, Danielle King and Johnny Nasser.
Creative/Tech Team: Phillip James Rouse (writer & director, sound design), Chantelle Jamieson (assistant director), Nell Ranney (dramaturg), Anna Gardiner & Martelle Hunt (production design), Sian James-Holland (lighting design), Michelle McKenzie (production manager), Luciana Nguyen (stage manager), Tracy Cui (assistant stage manager) and John Harrison (producer).