I knew we were in for it when we walked through the door. The safe, sexy black box of Alexander Upstairs looked like it had been trashed, stripped and left hollow. The dim light of dusk was slipping through the very office like blind. It looked nasty, but that was nothing. When Yuri and Shane entered the space in white suits drenched in blood and the first thing that happened was a toxic release in the corner… I had no illusions about how hard core it was going to get. Still I was shocked. Still I found it hard to swallow.
Louis Viljoen has written a savage little drama that is unbearably bleak, witty, hideous and terrifying. I am scared about the shit that is in his head. If this is really the world we inhabit then I am a naive bunny hippy. Shit on toast! Greg Karvellas directs the most outstanding performances from Mark Elderkin and Nicholas Pauling. I have to admit it was a lot like seeing a particularly gruesome accident and being fascinated by it. No, I did not enjoy it, but yes, I thought it was rather brilliant. (I thought it was much, much better than Champ.) I had no idea that property developers were that far gone, but I should have known.
I see Mamet, Sarah Kane, Tarrantino, Berkoff influences here, only Louis takes it all to new extremes. Brilliant and hectic dialogue, intense monologues and radical ideas. You need to have the stomach for it, and I’m not sure I do. My breakfast is sitting uncomfortably this morning. Still, I think it was pretty amazing.
Apparently a regular Alexander patron wanted to cancel all his future bookings after seeing it. I had an old couple sitting in front of me last night and I was occasionally embarrassed that we were sharing the space. The Frontiersmen. Not for sissies.