Minerva Theatre Co’s The Reunion, written by Sophie Heather, was a fun and nostalgic immersive theatre experience performed as part of Anywhere Festival.
Mt St Celine’s class of 2013 were coming together for their ten year reunion, and the audience was included as past students attending the event. We affixed our name tags and took our seats, chatting with other people at our table about our own experiences of high school reunions.
Each of the four tables was joined by an actor in character, and regaled with stories of their decade since leaving high school. Our table was joined by Maddie (played by Tyra Pohlman, who also co-produced the show and advised on the script), a self-interested young woman who had pursued a career in clinical psychology and now spent her days rehabilitating wealthy wine mums.
After an unfortunate incident at a high school party, Maddie spent time trying to distance herself from a cruel nickname and establishing a list of professional achievements. She also, questionably, declared herself an LGBTQIA+ ally after deciding that her high school crush Ben must be gay, given his lack of interest in her ten years ago. Pohlman was immersed in her character and able to interact with the audience in a way that felt natural. The rest of the cast included Téa Gross, Lachie Mackie, Freya Crema and Dom Ryan.
The emcee of the reunion revisited the yearbook of the graduates, reminding everyone of the superlatives that had been assigned, and The Reunion also included a trivia quiz, with all of the answers being pop culture moments from 2013. This was a good way for the audience to engage, and was a fun and nostalgic activity (has it really been ten years since the Harlem Shake?!). Sheets of paper with secrets about each character were also circulated following the trivia portion, but there was minimal payoff to these in the way that the drama continued to unfold.
Although it was interesting to have only one side of the story, I would have liked to have a little more insight into the other characters and their motivations. However, this structure meant that audience members would be able to see the show multiple times and experience it differently.
The sound was clear despite the increasingly busy bar environment and the performers managed well in the shared space, with Blutes patrons occasionally crossing through the performance. Costuming was aligned with each character’s espoused values and lifestyle, and the space was also set up to include a guest book, a confessions box, and a prop frame with a disposable camera.
As the reunion progressed, new rumours clashed with old grievances to create one big, messy, entertaining confrontation. After the four characters had stormed out, The Reunion was over. See you in ten more years!
The Reunion was performed at Blutes Bar, Fortitude Valley, from 3 – 13 May 2023 and at The Hills District Community Centre, Arana Hills, from 26-27 May.
For ticketing and further information, visit the Anywhere Festival website
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