The slightly dank arched cellar of C Nova is really not the place for a drum, slapped with aurally catastrophic abandon by a sinewy wide eyed actor. It’s not just not-sonorous, it’s a genuine timpanic threat to that membranous contract between performer and audience. For such a chaotic, noisy play, the choice of a hi-nrg staccato motif – banging pigskin; marching on the spot; shooting guns – risks amplifying this choppy piece’s bent toward cacophony.
And yet this is part of the point: MKA have travelled from their native Melbourne with a glint of terror in their eye, to go at us with this spiky, colourful, rubber reaction ball of a piece of agit-prop. The Economist relates the story of a fictionalized version of the Norwegian killer, Anders Breivik, who, in a twist of complicity is CEO of something called Geofarms, addresses us from the mic as a coherent voice, is a regular gun owner, and is rather adored by the Police team who grin, coo and simper at his ballistic choices.
Berwick is played by Zoey Dawson with a slightly dramah-heightened air, which cleverly makes the killer who would seek martyrdom ridiculous while retaining his evil, while the gender reversal puts the matter of wider culture to the fore. This was not simply the work of a lunatic, but an expression of the elements of society that make right-wing terror possible. In an overly-violent scene Breivik is smacked around by cops as a youth. Furtherly embittering, he is not very good with the woman who takes an interest (“Who do you think would win between a fox and a deer?” “Arrows.”) taking solace in gun culture and a chorus line of upstanding club members grubby and casually into serial killers.
Amongst all the buzz, blare and tightly inverting ensemble work, the most memorable scenes are the quieter ones. There are some terrifying moments of Nazi ideology, when Andrew is playing World of Warcraft the figure of Odin stands behind him and they dialogue about race and myth, when a popular folk singer tearfully addresses her fans and ends with a white power salute. Perhaps most chilling song with squiggly pitch bend keyboards, soulful and full of racist hatred, a kind of Littlebulb visit the Third Reich and refuse to flinch.
And as this plays, the silence with which Breivik moves offstage down the arches, moving plastic gallons of liquid purposefully in the dark. Not highlighted but definitely part of proceedings. Unacknowledged yet happening right in front of us.