REVIEW: Floor Thirteen || Marshall Stay and The Blue Room Theatre


Floor Thirteen
Review by Lorna Mackie
27 June 2019

Floor Thirteen, presented by The Blue Room Theatre and Marshall Stay, is a fascinating and challenging new work. This is its premier run, however, it feels highly polished. Floor Thirteen is performed in the round, a brilliant directing choice by Marshall Stay (one of many such well-considered choices) to make the best of some incredibly strong physical theatre, and had me captured from start to finish.

The show features an emotional and nuanced performance in the character of Phoebe (Kylie Bywaters), stuck in a lift at 3am, anxiously recounting the events of a disastrous evening. Phoebe is panicked, scared and frantically trying to get her story straight. As the events are retold, snippets are mimed out by the talented cast of physical performance actors (Tamara Creasey, Courtney Henri, Christopher Moro and Jordan Valentini), taking on a different tone and perspective with each retelling.

The writer (Elise Wilson) noted that the show aims to “look at the narrative of our own identity and how we retell stories to one another,” and certainly achieves the aim. With each retelling of the tale, Phoebe’s character reveals a different apparent truth of which she is trying to convince herself, and the show examines questions of identity, memory and the extent to which we editorialise our own history to suit our needs.  The writing is fascinating and fast-paced, creating the rare theatre time-bubble; when the lights came up it was hard to believe an hour had flown past.

However, despite the strong acting and incisive writing, the true star of the production is the ingenuous use of tech. Voice overs, live projections, soundscapes and some perfectly designed and timed lighting (Scott McArdle) conspired to create multiple environments and cleverly conveyed the passage of time throughout. Director Marshall Stay also designed the set, sound and AV and it is apparent why – the use of technology is integral to the overall direction of the show. Stay’s expert hand is everywhere in this production, and proves yet again that he is one of Perth’s best up and coming directors. Floor Thirteen is highly recommended for lovers of theatre that makes you question your perceptions.

Floor Thirteen runs from 25 June to 13 July at The Blue Room Theatre. For tickets and show information, go here: