REVIEW: Belvoir St Theatre’s ‘Opening Night’ an ode to audience’s youth

REVIEW: Belvoir St Theatre’s ‘Opening Night’ an ode to audience’s youth


Belvoir St Theatre regularly produces works that shock, entertain and above all, move audiences to think deeply. Opening Night, currently running in the Upstairs Theatre, is no different.

The show, adapted and directed by Carissa Licciardello, follows the story of Myrtle (Leeanna Walsman), a well-known actress grappling with her loss of youth. Her life begins to mirror the play she is starring in, leaving audiences with a glowing surrealist piece.

Lighting and soundscapes in Opening Night are striking. We are greeted by a humble set; a burnt orange couch, a home bar, shelves lined with quirky glassware. Through harsh transitions of warm and blue light, we come to understand the fragmented realities of Myrtle’s life.

The play opens with heavy rain sounds and flurries of noise, before quickly fading to silence. There are abrupt changes in volume throughout the play, using both music and dialogue. It’s as if, through simple techniques, we are taken into the mind of Myrtle as she tries to understand herself.

Perhaps the most clever thing about Opening Night is its ability to linger near the fourth wall, never quite breaking it. Scenes transition quickly between Myrtle’s home life and rehearsals for the play she’s in. Director Manny (Luke Mullins) gestures to there being an audience, but never quite addresses us, creating an eerie sense of voyeurism.

This is the kind of production that puts thoughts on the tip of your tongue, yet doesn’t let you fully form them. It’s brave in it’s frankness and comfortably postmodern, challenging audiences to consider their own youth in contrast to adult life.

For younger audiences, this play may feel a little tedious, as similar scenes repeat a lot. For those a little older, relatable themes will have you empathising with Myrtle, wondering what is to come next.

Until Mar 27. Belvoir Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills. $35-$91+b.f. Tickets & Info:

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