Like some absurd, wordless clown cousin to Sartre’s No Exit, There Will Be a Climax deposits its characters into one of the circles of Hell – in this case, one eternally revolving to the sounds of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round.
The six evening suited clowns seem happy to be there at first, gyrating through a cute little bump-and-grind dance sequence.
Their aim is to please and their expectation seems to be that when the music dies, the spinning stops.
But it doesn’t. Confused and fearful of stepping off the platform, the clowns try to find some kind of end point. It never comes.
Instead, objects fall into the space, beginning with a toy telephone that becomes a hotly contested trophy item.
A bag of prawn crackers is opened as if it were an unexploded bomb.
A hank of rope suggests they may be able to climb out. But how does rope work?
Are the blue backpack and orange bumbag meant for particular characters?
What’s with the air horn?
Created by Alexander Berlage (you can read his explanation here) and devised with the cast, There Will Be A Climax is uproarious, somewhat maddening and utterly novel. In two decades of theatre going in Sydney, I haven’t seen anything quite like it.
The cast – Toby Blome, Oliver Crump, Duncan Ragg, Geneva Schofield, Alex Stylianou and Contessa Treffone – is highly skilled and drilled to perfection. Each creates a memorable character driven by palpable (if obscure) needs and wants.
The stage revolves at something like six revolutions per minute, which doesn’t sound like much. But it’s a considerable feat to just stand on it, let alone perform intricate choreography (courtesy of Toby Derrick), Three Stooges-style comedy, and gobbledygook choral singing.
And the climax?
Well, that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it?
All I will say is go see for yourself. You might love it. You might hate it. You might, like my theatre date, find the combination of the spinning stage, glittering golden backdrop and steady rumble of the mechanism migraine-inducing.
But you definitely won’t forget it.