BWW Review: THE RAPTURE at FortyFiveDownstairs
Moira Finucane's The Rapture: Art vs Extinction fully immerses its audience into what can only be described as a hybrid form of boutique theatre. It weaves together cabaret, visual and wearable arts, music, drama, comedy, burlesque, absurdism, nudity, protest and charity. The result is fantastic, a hurly-burly experience that leaves you walking out of the theatre in pure euphoria.
Moira Finucane, the sole creator, writer and performer, is no novice to creating masterfully executed theatre experiences. Having performed globally and received multiple awards, her works push the envelope on what theatre can be, by enticing her audiences into a mythical labyrinth.
For this production of The Rapture the venue itself, Fortyfivedownstairs, which is a not-for-profit gallery and theatre space in Flinders Lane, was perfect. Slowly you descend down flights of stairs to enter an underground lair. Two unrecognisable figures draped in dark fabric and a pianist serenade you into the industrial space, which has been transformed into a unique cabaret venue filled with Gothic candelabras, dripping ghostly stalactites, haze and a crucifix shaped catwalk stage.
Situated at one end of the catwalk are two statues by William Eicholtz of Great Auks, an extinct flightless bird. They stand as guardians over two bowls which allow audience members to make charitable contributions to two very different important causes.
As my usher guides me to my table which is adorned with a small bouquet of flowers, I can't help but note that I have already journeyed far into an alternate universe, filled with love. All this before the show has even started!
As we begin, the lights dim and the two unrecognisable singers reveal themselves as choir members, Clare St Clare & Mama Alto. Suddenly Finucane herself appears as a creature of the dark, in a crown of feathers with elongated pointed fingers and wearing a huge fur coat.
Instead of having a traditional story line The Rapture really is a series of different human experiences that Finucane explores and shares with the audience as both herself and numerous other mythical characters.
Finucane succeeds in her wish for The Rapture to be a Wunderkammer, which is more commonly know as a Cabinet of Curiosities or a collection of objects that are yet to be classified. This ties in with her background as an Environmental Scientist and lets her examine what it is to be human - our ability to love, to hate and challenge what society deems as appropriate.
The Rapture is also a combined vision of many artists working together through different mediums which range from couture and costuming, through to the sculptures adorning the stage. Their individual works strengthen the overall vision of the piece and create artistic synergy.
In the end, you come to realise that you are witnessing pure art that leaves an aftertaste of destroying mediocrity.
The Rapture is on at Fortyfivedownstairs to 16th July.