Love, Lust, Lost
A Theatrical Odyssey of Epic Proportions
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
In the vast landscape of contemporary theatre, where innovation often takes centre stage, Love Lust Lost by Broad Encounters emerges as a radiant supernova of creativity, storytelling prowess, and immersive adventure. From its explosive inception, this production defies convention and invites audiences on an extraordinary journey through uncharted territory, a subterranean world spanning 43 spaces and 1900 square meters. As the audience is lead down a dark tunnel to “board the ship”, it becomes evident that Love Lust Lost is not just a performance; it is an experiential marvel, a multi-tonal and multi-sensory odyssey that has to be experienced to be believed.
The creative minds behind this experience have embarked on an audacious mission: to challenge the norms of traditional theatre and redefine the boundaries of storytelling. And they succeed brilliantly. This is a production that dares to be different, that beckons those with adventurous souls and contemporary tastes to dive headfirst into a world of irreverence and wonder.
At its core, Love Lust Lost is an exploration of the most fundamental aspects of the human condition: love, lust, and loss. These themes serve as a guiding light through the labyrinthine narrative, drawing inspiration from a diverse array of literary sources, from Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ to Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ and Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. The result is a mosaic of dazzling fantasy and adventure, interwoven with the joys and tragedies that define our shared humanity.
The production’s audacity and ambition are matched only by the dedication and innovation of its creative team. The collaboration between Creative Director Kirsten Siddle, Stage Director Scott Maidment, and Co-writer Helen Cassidy is nothing short of visionary. Drawing inspiration from literary giants like Shakespeare, David Lynch, Kate Bush, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, they have crafted a narrative that defies categorisation. Love Lust Lost is a narrative ship, sailing through uncharted waters, with its characters as the sailors, and the audience as fellow passengers on this mesmerising voyage.
One of the most striking features is the immersive nature. Audiences are not mere spectators; they are participants in this unfolding drama. The boundary between performer and observer dissolves, and the audience becomes an integral part of the narrative. It’s like stepping into a film where you inhabit the same time and space as the characters, making each moment an intimate and personal experience. This level of immersion is a testament to the production team’s commitment to pushing the envelope of what theatre can be.
The characters are an enthralling ensemble, brought to life by a cast of extraordinary talent. Sandro Colarelli’s portrayal of Captain Anderson, the visionary scientist and engineer, is nothing short of captivating. With an omnipresent air about him, he leaves us pondering the very essence of his ambition and the possibility that this world might be his own fabrication. Bri Emrich embodies Sandy, a classic ingenue. Yet, beneath her radiant exterior lies a depth of complexity, a tension between the forces of lust and love that defines her journey. Meg Hickey’s Salacia reigns supreme in this subterranean world, a hyper-intelligent, sexy, and cunning presence. Her mastery of self-improvement adds layers to her character, and her sensuality and power create an intoxicating blend that commands the stage. Jeremy Lloyd takes on the role of Chan, the enigmatic rockstar whose love for self-reflection is only surpassed by the enigma of his fractured facade. His performance is a riddle that leaves audiences intrigued, questioning what lies beneath the surface. Chloe Towan brings Claude to life, an ever-watchful and protective friend and confidante. Claude’s presence adds moments of laughter, but beneath the surface lies a secret unrequited love that portends their ultimate downfall. Kristian Šantić portrays Stefano, who, despite his colossal stupidity, has ascended to the role of Head Chef due to the mysterious disappearances of crew members. Stefano’s character is a study in contradiction, as he possesses unexpected insights into the mysteries unfolding on board. Callum Mooney embodies the enigmatic Sea Creature, a hybrid entity, part human and part something oceanic. Their story is shrouded in mysterious dark forces, and the truth of their origin remains murky. Shy and shame-filled yet somewhat cheeky, the Sea Creature adds an element of intrigue to the narrative.
Sho Eba brings Trink to life, a conscripted deckhand with aspirations beyond their station. Despite their fine threads and thespian ways, Trink’s role as a mere deckhand belies their mischievous, nimble, and astute nature. They often act to thwart the plans of others with wit and resourcefulness. Together, this ensemble of characters creates a rainbow of emotions, motives, and hidden depths that enrich the narrative with each character’s unique qualities contributing to the overall spellbinding depth and intrigue, making it a theatrical experience unlike any other.
But the brilliance doesn’t end with its characters. It extends to every facet of the production, from the extreme forms of physicality and theatricality employed to the eclectic blend of music that guides the narrative. The choreography by Jo Cotterill is a mesmerising dance of movement and emotion, while the musical arrangements, spanning genres from classical to pop, infuse each scene with a rich and evocative atmosphere.
In a world where there are no right or wrong answers, this production invites its audience to be bold, to be brave, and to embark on an incredible journey of self-discovery. It transfixes, stirs, teases, and excites, leaving a permanent mark that lingers long after the performance concludes.
Reflecting on the evening, Andy Warhol’s words come to mind: “What you see is what you get.” It is an experience that begs to be savoured repeatedly, a testament to the ultimate adventure story.
Love Lust Lost is a theatrical masterpiece of unparalleled grandeur. It defies categorisation, challenges conventions, and transports its audience to a realm of strange and thought-provoking beauty. It is peculiar, funny, unusual, and eccentric, a choose-your-own-adventure where curiosity is the locksmith that opens doors to individual experiences within the same shared space. Be prepared to be absorbed, engrossed, and utterly fascinated. Love Lust Lost is a theatrical odyssey unlike anything ever seen in Australia, and it beckons you to step into its mesmerising embrace again and again.
Love Lust Lost is currently running at the Austral Theatre, Melbourne, with performances scheduled until 29th October. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/love-lust-lost-immersive-theatre-adventure-2348439. For more information about the experience please visit https://lovelustlost.com/