The Matriark Theatre Company travels well known terrain with its second work, a children’s play called HalfWorld, written by Robert den Englesman and directed by Scott Parker, which is still currently at a workshop stage.
Den Engelsman’s play fits into the quest/fantasy genre. Josh Hampson plays the protagonist Mr Boy who starts on a quest to find his lost twin brother. As per Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero of a Thousand Faces’ template, our young hero has to enter into a special world, in the case of this play it is called the ‘HalfWorld’.
The centerpiece of this HalfWorld is a huge tent/fortress made of blankets, designed by Aleisa Jelbart, which magically envelopes both the players and the whole of the audience. The kids loved the excitement of it, being ‘wrapped’ in this outlandish cocoon.
In this HalfWorld Mr Boy encounters plenty of quirky allies and enemies. Amongst his allies is Oph, played by the playwright himself, the friendly presence of Admiral John, played by the director, and the Moon who watches over him, played by Emily McGowan. Mr Boy’s chief enemy is the irascible Cortman, dressed in one of the most colourful costumes that I have yet seen, who works for a detective agency and is out to grab him before he gets to find his twin.
My only reservation was this fun piece of theatre as it stands is that it needs a stronger third Act/ denouement. As the production currently stands, the time in the magical Special HalfWorld is where the play is the strongest, and the piece is in need of a stronger resolution. I am sure that the Company will work on this aspect as they prepare for the show’s first fully fledged production.
Matriark Theatre Company’s production of HalfWorld played at the 107 Projects Theatre, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern on August 16, 17 and 18.