On a summer’s day in 1900, during a trip to a volcanic beauty spot in rural Victoria, three schoolgirls and their teacher inexplicably vanish, never to be seen again. Giving a contemporary spin to Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 book, this production features five female narrators whose efforts at reconstructing the mystery are overtaken by primal forces. Amid looming hysteria, their story twists and distorts, guiding us from civilisation and order to somewhere hostile, vast and unknown.
Offering a vision of psychological breakdown as the illusion of genteel society is torn apart in an ancient land, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a sublimely unsettling theatrical experience that sends shivers down the spine. Gripping performances rip through time and are matched by an eerie soundscape and lighting design that summon the mysteries of the outback.
I admired the production's uncompromising clout.
Cult story made creepily compelling and politically potent in this jagged dreamscape