Control by Keziah Warner

Rebecca Varidel
8th Jul 2022

Perhaps nothing is as exciting and inspiring as a new play, and even more so when it's Australian on its Sydney premiere. Just imagine it, writing not just a play, but a trilogy withing a play. Phenomenal.

Control is mind blowing on many levels. The play explores idealogies and philosophies, climate crisis, space settlement and information control, artificial intelligence and human emotions through scifi and other genres in a complex engagement across generations. In the first segment, the use of reality TV gives the audience something familiar to connect with as other less familiar ideas are introduced. This is a most successful device by Keziah Warner to engage us. Just a small point, but the last segment was a tad long and the play would have kept its power with tighter editing. Across generations some of the actors play relatives, a younger sibling, a descendent. Again interesting and powerful.

Our four initial space travellers transport us expertly to Mars with all the celebrity of their reality TV stardom. Kaitlyn Thor shines as Elizabeth, Nikki, and Isablelle and the demanding different views from all. We are equally enarmoured by the rest of the space cast, Emily Suine, Luke Visentin and Rily McNamara. Each of the four give out of this world performances on the historic New Theatre stage.

It must be difficult to play a robot but Olivia Xegas nails ice and confusion, while Caitlin Williams masters learning and expansion. Data storage for your thoughts.

Staging, set, lighting and costumes were all created cosmically to take us on the sci fi adventure. Full marks to Director, Sound and AV Designer Patrick Howard. It's not an easy task to bring sci fi to the stage.
All in all, a terrific new play well worth supporting, and terrific work from all of the creative team and cast.

New Theatre is celebrating 90 years this year. Control is performing until 30 July. Then the next play in the 2022 program is Chimerica winner 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Play. From 15 August.

Photos ©Bob Seary.