Filled with disturbing imagery that you would only find in your nightmares, The Moving Theatre Company’s adaptation of Philip Ridley’s debut play is a visually stimulating and wondrously visceral stage production. Contrary to the title, this is definitely not a Disney fairytale.
The Pitchfork Disney plunges you in to the grim and fantastical world of Hayley and Presley Stray, a pair of adult twins who, in the wake of an unexplained apocalyptic event and the mysterious disappearance of their parents, have been living in solitary confinement. The siblings live a very childlike existence, surviving off chocolate and narcotics in a derelict and abandoned space where they share stories under a tent that contains a constructed tapestry of their dreams and fears.
Under Sophie Roberts’ accomplished direction, this contemporary classic with a macabre twist is brought to life by an extremely talented and absolutely stellar cast. Michelle Blundell and Todd Emerson play Hayley and Presley with staggering conviction; Michelle perfectly embodies the easily anxious, childlike innocence of the character while Todd’s charismatic stage presence makes him an effortless and captivating storyteller.
Leon Wadham’s portrayal of the sinister Cosmo Disney is unnervingly believable – the subtleties in his facial expressions in particular make his portrayal of the sick and twisted nightclub entertainer truly terrifying and sent shivers up my spine. Sam Snedden rounds up the cast as the frightening Pitchfork Cavalier and although he only gets limited time on the stage, he still manages to invoke a formidable presence with startling effect.
Visually, the set (which goes beyond the performance space – a brilliant touch!) is impressive – an artistic masterpiece. The stunning and fascinating set design by Daniel Williams along with the superb sound and lighting by Sean Lynch and Jennifer Lal work in perfect tandem to create a genuinely eerie atmosphere. In this dreamlike alternate reality, you easily forget the real world and subsequently, like the twins, begin to fear what lies beyond.
The Pitchfork Disney is a deeply poetic, deliciously dark and hauntingly surreal theatrical experience. Prepare to be swept away and completely immersed in this chilling and gripping tale.
The Whimsical Banana rates The Pitchfork Disney: 5/5 chocolate-coated bananas!
The Pitchfork Disney is at the Loft at Q until June 29th. Click here for the full synopsis and to book tickets.