‘A chilling tale that challenges the distinction between genius and madness, discovery and cruelty, man and beast.’
This tagline was my only prior introduction of the story of Dr Moreau, and it is safe to say that upon leaving the theatre this promise was delivered; although describing this production as ‘chilling’ is putting it mildly.
The National University Theatre Society’s production of H.G. Wells’ classic novel ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’, directed by Georgia-Cate Westcott and produced by Lily Iervasi, was equal parts chaotic, thought-provoking, terrifying and engaging.
The story follows Edward Prendick who, after a shipwreck, is left on a mysterious island where Dr Moreau and his assistant Montgomery perform gruesome experiments on the local fauna. Various questions of morality follow.
The performances of the three leads, Synan Chohan as Doctor Moreau, Eamon Dunphy as Edward Prendick and Kaivu Suvarna as Montgomery were wonderful. Furthermore, every moan and yell from the excellent ensemble of animal/humans was keenly felt by each audience member.
Clever utilisation of limited staging, costume, sound and lighting created a world with depth and feeling. The rotating stage and props were masterfully used to signify various scenery changes. Sound effects varying from a heartbeat to ocean waves worked well in building tension and scenery.
While this production was rough around the edges, I could feel that the audience took some pleasure in the chaos that was unfolding on stage: it was simultaneously a visceral and intellectual experience. I would unreservedly recommend this production to anyone looking for an interesting and unusual night at the theatre.
While you won’t be quite sure what you just witnessed as you leave, I can guarantee an exhilarating and overall enjoyable experience.
‘The Island of Dr Moreau’ is on at Theatre Three until Saturday 23 September. Tickets are still available via the link on the Facebook event page.