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Review: THE ATOM ROOM at Circa Theatre Wellington

Review: THE ATOM ROOM at Circa Theatre Wellington

By Taylor Goggin for Monica Moore

There's a number of firsts to be experienced at Circa Theatre's The Atom Room.

First up it's a World Premiere, written by New Zealand Playwright Philip Braithwaite.

It's also first to create a prologue in virtual reality, which certainly tugged at my heartstrings more than a little. To see Wellington, the city I know and love well, so different from my own reality is disconcerting and literally illuminated the just-as-disconcerting question 'Do we need to find another planet to inhabit in the future?'

The virtual reality prologue runs in the foyer of the Circa Theatre half an hour before each show starts, and it's a must-see.

Science fiction, romance, drama and a good sprinkling of comedy come together in this intriguing show with the addition of some very clever virtual reality.

Director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford has successfully melded together a story of our primal need for survival, our innate nature to love and desire to procreate amidst a futurist dilemma of interplanetary habitation.

Set in Wellington of the 22nd century, the beautiful city has been marred by environmental disasters, nuclear pollution and a magnitude 9 earthquake. Here, we meet Sarah and Danny, who will attempt to pursue the ultimate long-distance relationship with Sarah being sent to Mars for work and Danny remaining in Wellington, with Sarah's boss Margaret making sure that it isn't easy for them. The show follows their lives to an extent but mainly shows them in The Atom Room, a physical version of Skype.

The charismatic chemistry between characters Sarah (Harriet Prebble) and Danny (Taylor Hall ) is compelling and we can relate albeit amidst the heartache of time and space. They are literally planets apart.

Funny and quirky Margaret (Claire Waldron) is Sarah's boss who is trying to deal with many of today's identifiable life-stresses and keep it all together as much as we humans can.

The music by local band Minuit did not disappoint supporting the themes of The Atom Room perfectly.

Jennifer Lal must be congratulated as Lighting Designer for her excellent work as do the AV Designers, Raylene Beals and Johanna Sanders, with their thought-provoking images.

This play will make you laugh, reflect, think and wonder for the future.

Although set in Wellington it would not be difficult for this play to be replicated anywhere else in the world and I for one hope that national as well as international company's take on this entertaining and thought-provoking piece.

If you want a play that makes you think, reflect, laugh and wonder of the future, then The Atom Room is perfect for you!

The Atom Room
Circa Theatre
1 Taranaki Street
9th June - 7th of July.

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