top of page

Dead End - The And Theatre (Summer Nights)

Reviewed by Rachel Doulton


As the audience settles we are plunged into darkness where all that can be heard is a drone that leads us into a sense of unease - something is not quite right in this world. In the darkness, our eyes are drawn to a man who lies in a heap obscured with a black sheet. He is shocked awake as if coming out of a nightmare and what follows next is a meticulous display of visually stunning vignettes. Each scene is a journey of how we reconcile with our choices - some that haunt us - and how we may then cleanse our spirit and banish the demons that creep from the dark shadows of our psyche.

The And Theatre is comprised of culturally diverse Australian and Ukrainian artists and crew who have received significant recognition across Europe and South America and they make their Australian debut at the Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Night’s Festival with Dead End. The production is a surrealist look at how we move through the stagnation of the soul when we are faced with the consequences of our choices.

Our main character, played by Dennis Chmelov, adeptly holds the attention of the audience throughout this introspection of the soul. Whilst his surroundings are sparse and spectral, he moves through with natural ease. Fellow performer, Anna Chmelova, whose relationship to Chmelov’s character is open to interpretation, matches the energy on stage and is an expert in movement. Each choice in movement is deliberate and considered and you are left in awe of the strange and unexpected beauty of her movement.

Lighting designer, Nat Mijat, heightens the surrealism of the action of stage with skilled design and careful precision. Anton Malyshev’s soundscape compliments the unexpected and unconventional nature of this surrealist piece. The showstopper for me was Mary Dixin’s costume design. There is one character that is a must-see and would be spoiled if detailed in this review.

There are three more nights of this must-see visually interesting and unconventional show. Go in with an open heart and be faced with reflecting on the demons we create of the choices that haunt us, and leave the theatre with those demons banished and your spirit a little lighter.

Anna Chmelova and Dennis Chmelov. Image provided.

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.


bottom of page