We are all going through challenges that sometimes aren’t so obvious on the surface.
This show is a real reminder to show kindness to others no matter what we are going through because we never really know what others are facing.
A fast-paced 60-minute show reflecting the speed of our changing world.
Set in a high school with a cast of two.
The cast transforms seamlessly into a multitude of well-thought-out, rich characters.
Some deeper than others — flirty school receptionist Karen is hilarious.
A good reminder to talk more and seek help when you need it.
As a society, we need to start the journey towards mental wellness and undo the ill effects of stereotyping.
After all, what does strength really look like?
The performers were excellent and the sound & lighting flawless.
Extremely well received, well done crew!!!
The first thing that will grab you about Sam Foster and Hayden Jones’ performance are the seamless transitions of both character and set.
While telling the interwoven story of high school students and staff they move easily around the stage literally and figuratively wearing many hats as they do.
The story takes you on a journey that makes you consider many social issues that should at least make you think.
All the while the mood is lightened with well-placed humour to keep things entertaining and palatable.
If there was any complaint regarding the performance it came from my much more experienced theatre partner for the evening who pointed out that there could have been more realism and less dramatisation, especially for a room that size.
They also mentioned that from a technical perspective the clowning and miming could have used a little more work.
I personally enjoyed the show very much and would recommend this short theatre piece to anyone that gets a chance to see it.
Thought it was excellent.
Very talented actors, but just wondering, how is it possible in the year 2021 it’s considered ok to vilify Christians with bigotted stereotypes?
I would have hoped we had moved past this ignorance and intolerance.
A clever ending with a twist.
Fantastic show, with only two actors playing multiple roles but each and every role they play was fantastic and really well performed.
Undertow is a one-hour dramatic piece of physical theatre, touching on the lives of students, and staff at Bonnerville High School. As is portrayed in Undertow, much can happen at a high school in a short two-week period. The two writers, directors, designers and performers (Sam Foster and Hayden Jones) bring a cast of around ten characters to the stage.
As waves break, the seaward-flowing mix of water and sand can make people feel as if they are being sucked underwater—making ‘undertow’ a useful metaphor for the challenges of daily life, and the pressure to stay afloat. Centred on the challenges faced by Jesse, Connor and Phil, the piece reminds audiences of the need for empathy and support—and the importance of realising that everyone may be facing difficult challenges, which are often hidden beneath.
There is much to admire in this work. Foster and Jones portray a range of characters — which included impressive moments with three characters on stage (all still portrayed by the two actors). The production makes great use of a limited range of props to quickly establish a range of locations, and the lighting (Laura Jade) was simple but effective. I greatly enjoyed the original, ‘live’ music (Sam Foster and Guy Webster), which played an important part in the show—both in connection with Jesse’s character and relationships, but also in the opening and closing of the piece.
Although touching on some pretty challenging themes, Undertow had some lighter moments—albeit some of the humour seemed to centre on parodies of mature women. I’d suggest that certain caricatures — such as the flirty school secretary and the Germanic psychologist — might need to be re-thought in the context of a piece touching on empathy and identity. I also question whether there needed to be quite so many characters in such a short play — unless the idea is to perhaps have a range of different endings, to emphasise the challenges that everyone faces in their lives.
Undertow would be a great production for years 9-12 students, where the one-hour performance might be followed by open classroom discussions and workshops. The show would be a good conversation starter for considering issues of empathy, identity, mental illness, drug/alcohol use, support, and resilience. It made for an interesting evening out, and certainly provoked those conversations between two audience members on Thursday night.
Audience information: Ages 13+ Contains adult themes — including identity, drug alcohol and suicide references, and gun violence. Some strobe lighting and smoke haze. The Brisbane Powerhouse 16-26 June 2021 run takes place in the Underground Theatre (previously the Visy Theatre).
As society attempts to keep up with our rapidly changing world, the team at Shock Therapy present an honest and powerful look at the hidden forces, beneath the surface that move us and determine the choices we make and the actions we take.
Undertow is an original work that explores themes of resilience, mental health, relationships, identity and empathy. Centred around a high school community and the events that take place over the course of two weeks, Undertow follows three main characters Jesse, Connor and Phil, as they each struggle to cope with the pressures of life, while trying to manage relationships with the people close to them.
Shock Therapy return to Brisbane Powerhouse, drawing on a range of film conventions and physical theatre techniques to push their signature style in a new direction, blurring the line between different realities. The result is storytelling that is fluid and inventive, sweeping you up in its current as the story pulls you deeper.