ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Viviane Frehner, Bianca Mackail, Katia Molino, Olivia Porter and Nicci Wilks star in Norpa's latest production Wildskin, an all-female ensemble of riotous physical performers, who each portray the recognisable and oddball characters that 'Eva' encounters on her journey.
ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Viviane Frehner, Bianca Mackail, Katia Molino, Olivia Porter and Nicci Wilks star in Norpa's latest production Wildskin, an all-female ensemble of riotous physical performers, who each portray the recognisable and oddball characters that 'Eva' encounters on her journey. Marc Stapelberg

'This will be huge': New show like a theme park ride

WHEN you leave City Hall having seen NORPA's latest signature production, WILDSKIN, director Julian Louis wants you to feel like you have just gotten off a theme park ride.

"You will have experienced highs and lows and all kinds of emotions and come out saying: what did I just see?”, said Mr Louis.

It has been a while since NORPA's original productions of Dreamland and Railway Wonderland thrilled the Northern Rivers dramatic landscape, and last year's flood definitely took its toll on the region's theatregoing public. But, judging from Mr Louis's demeanour, you get the impression, NORPA is back to its best.

WILDSKIN opens next Friday and Mr Louis said: "This one is going to huge”.

"It's theatre not often made in Australia; it's really ambitious. I'm excited.”

Based again on original research about what The Northern Rivers represents to the national consciousness, WILDSKIN is a "culmination of years working towards finding collaborative theatre that has movement, song, abstraction and story”, he said.

"I like theatre to push boundaries, be fun and engaging,” he said

"I feel audiences are hungry for entertainment but also a sophistication that makes them think.

"There are moments when the sound is big; there are fright moments and then in the next scene you could be laughing,” said Louis.

The "cabaret-like” show has a all-female ensemble that subverts the horror genre and was written by Hattie Dalton in collaboration with Janis Balodis and Darcy Grant.

Eva believes the only way to mend her broken life is to go solo on the road. Lost, alone and under-prepared, she soon finds herself breaking rules and embracing danger. After a long night of the soul, encountering wild animals and outrageously odd humans, Eva discovers she can handle any challenge life dares throw at her.

Ms Dalton grew up in central-west NSW and Sydney. She settled in London for more than a decade, where she won a BAFTA for the first ever film she wrote and directed, The Banker, in 2005.

She moved to the Northern Rivers in 2010.

"I love that sensibility in the past works that Julian Louis directed at NORPA, so when he asked me to write the story for Wildskin it was an easy decision to accept,” she said.

WILDSKIN's evolution from Railway Wonderland and Dreamland, as a piece of regional theatre, comes from its "tourability”, said Mr Louis.

Its themes are quintessentially Northern Rivers, like the other two, but a road-trip to self-discovery means the production has universal relevance and the production is not bedded to its location.

This black comedy acknowledges " to let oneself go wild is to take a journey into the unknown - far away into the world, and deep into the soul”.

The cast of " riotous physical performers, each portraying an array of hilarious, recognisable and oddball characters” includes Viviane Frehner, Bianca Mackail, Katia Molino, Olivia Porter and Nicci Wilks.

  • At Lismore City Hall from September 28-October 6. Visit norpa.org.au.


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