The Last Great Hunt has rapidly gained a well deserved reputation as one of the most innovative theatre makers in Perth. In 2015 they were quirky Fringe upstarts with Yoshis Castle. In 2019 they are fully fledged establishment favourites with Le Nor. Le Nor is a work co-commissioned by Perth Festival, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre – where the play will have a second run in March.
Le Nor is at its heart an ensemble romantic comedy – think a less problematic Love Actually or a smarter Valentines Day. It is reminiscent of the sort of film you find late at night on SBS, a heavily subtitled cult favourite made in the 80s with a Phil Collins heavy soundtrack. It’s the intertwining story of 7 people who live in a block of flats in the fictional island nation of Solset. As climate change affects their lives in different ways, love remains the central force in their lives, and unifies them even in the face of natural disaster.
The action is played out live on the stage in front of the audience, and projected instantaneously to a giant screen. Rotating sets means that every single person on stage is crucial to the success of this work. The talent of Claire Testoni as stage manager must be acknowledged here. Multiple cameras on a single scene means that the audience is treated to seamless reaction shots, and a clever use of props invites the suspension of disbelief to be taken a step further as a cardboard doll house is transformed into a four storey building.
Le Nor is very clever. In fact, this was the adjective I heard the most in the lobby after the show while I was scoffing the free blue cheese and fancy crackers. The problem here is that The Last Great Hunt know how clever they are, and seem at times to be a little enamoured of their own genius. The result is a show which could have been edited by at least 20 minutes.
It is undeniably the work of genius, both in concept and execution. Le Nor has been in development for some time, and the thought and care that has gone into it shows in every scene. It is showing at PICA until the 24th of February – tickets available here: https://www.perthfestival.com.au/event/le-nor
Words by Rebecca Bowman