Blue to the Horizon is a uniquely ambitious new Australian musical that manages to play it safe with form and dramaturgy but dares to take a huge risk with story and structure – with some truly staggeringly brilliant results.
World War 3 has broken out and a nuclear assault is imminent. As the bombs begin to fall, 6 strangers find themselves adrift on a boat, headed to New Zealand… they hope. As the days roll into weeks, each character must confront the moments in their past that got them here, and how they will find the will to keep on going.
Sarah Wynen’s writing is nothing short of awe inspiring, taking the well worn post-apocalyptic troupe and reframing the narrative through a musical lens. On paper this idea should not work but with Wynen’s carefully crafted script, grounded language and relatable characters, this script is bafflingly good.
Tess Walsh and Daniel Kim take the helm as Co-directors, guiding the work through the rough seas and the limitations of a work set on a boat trapped at sea, yet they find the most beautiful and harrowingly moments, drilling down to the humanity of the characters and the need to survive.
Walsh and Kim use the difficult venue to their advantage, constantly moving the actors through the space and focusing on well structured interactions with Opal Essence and Madelaine Mackaway detailed designs.
Daniel Kim’s music is a joyous combination of multi-layered and simple with Kim finding surprising cords and notes that keep the audience’s focus and creates a score that is solely this work and not borrowed from the multitude of musicals before it.
Tess Walsh and Courtney Holt’s choreography can at times feel a little out of place and forced but it was used very well to keep the pace and flow of the work moving and create a good balance of fury and stillness.
Stephanie Beza, Jackson Cross, Mat Dwyer, Zoe Harlen, Lucy May Knight and Nicole Rammesh are a powerhouse ensemble – brimming with talent and a clear investment in the work and story, each working so well with the other to constantly raise the bar and deliver top tier performances.
There are moments that do need a rework and further development but this will hopefully come with time – for a first outing, Blue to the Horizon is a much needed and welcome addition to the new Australian musical lexicon and one that is deserving of investment and praise.
Blue to the Horizon
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 8A Hyde Street, Footscray
Performance: Tuesday 18 July 2023
Season continues to 22 July 2023
For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/sevenfoldtc for details.
Image: Sevenfold Theatre Company presents Blue to the Horizon (supplied)
Review: Gavin Roach