She's lying on the floor in a sleeveless white floral summer dress and pale pink ballet slippers. Behind her is a sandpit. Above her near the ceiling swings a pool of blue water. Occasionally it lurches dramatically of its own accord. Further back, shrouded in mist there is a bridge. And as the audience enters The Depot Theatre, Cristina remains motionless.
Cristina In The Cupboard by Paul Gilchrist is a grand exploration in original thought, a philosophical labyrinth of space and time, possibilities and choices, that debates modern values, mortgages, marriage, sex, love, competition, families and friendship. And all of this contained within the vast space of a small cupboard. In the kingdoms of a cupboard and the mind, what is real anyway?
Originally performed in 2013 minimistically staged in white space and directed by the playwright Paul Gilchrist, this latest season evokes the inner ebbs and flows of debate on a larger scale. Directed by Julie Baz, with set and lighting design by David Jeffrey, The Depot Theatre production of Cristina In The Cupboard transports us beyond words and here and now through time to the fifth dimension. Jeffrey's bridge, and Baz's use of it heightens the experience.
In the lead, The Depot Theatre stalwart Emily McGowan returning as Cristina, entranced us with the dichotomy of a performance that was at once both ethereal and grounded, whimsical yet superbly ordinary, serious then light-hearted, all the time contagiously embracing us. Across the remaining cast, we saw Nyssa Hamilton as Lucinda, Teale Howie as Gabriel (are you picking up anything from the names yet?), David Jeffrey as Robert, Tasha O'Brien as Belinda, Sarah Plummer as Gwen, Lucy Quill as Erica, and Rachael Williams as Anna, deliver close to faultless opening night performances that mastered voice and actions and use of the stage. Each in their own way mastered their role, and their character. Bravo gentlemen. Brava ladies.
It's hard to believe that The Depot Theatre, having just celebrated its first birthday, is relatively new. In the last year it has continually delivered a diversity of outstanding well-rounded performances since starting out big tackling Chekhov first up.
If you are curious, and when should we ever give that up...
Advertised as " a spellbinding experiment in comic magic realism" Cristina In The Cupboard is showing at The Depot Theatre now and until July 30th.
Playing next in The Depot Theatre 2016 season is A Nest Of Skunks August 3rd to 13th.