Performed as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, created by Act React
Reviewed by Tessa Miles
Australian National Maritime Museum
22nd September – 2nd October
Titanic: The Movie, The Play, playing as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, is bravely taking on the retelling of the iconic movie of the 90’s in an interactive and immersive comedy experience that is the perfect definition of a fringe show.
The play is being performed in an outside venue at the Australian National Maritime Museum, a fitting venue for the journey the audiences embark on. With minimal sets, the one thing the audience will recognise immediately is the infamous bow of the ship, emblazoned with ‘Titanic’ on the side, just in case anyone was confused.
As the play begins, the audience are immediately thrown into the deep and ushered onto a “submarine” where they instantly spot marine life outside the sub’s windows; jellyfish, whales, dolphins and mer-mormons? Breaking the ice and earning a good chuckle from the crowd, the instructions of the night are set; when you’re handed a card you must read it out loud. It’s clear, the play won’t just be immersive, it will involve audience participation with some audience members beginning to slowly move towards the back of the crowd. But that won’t stop them from being involved.
It’s made known why we’re here on a submarine; to find the treasure on the remains of the Titanic. With the help of some audience members, a briefcase is retrieved from the depths of the sea and inside a drawing, yes that drawing. Referring to the audience to help identify the woman in said drawing, the guides open themselves up directly for some heckling from brave audience members, “it’s Kate Winslet”. A voice towards the back confesses it is them and introduces themselves as an elderly Rose DeWitt.
Rose becomes the narrator, her recounts giving the audience real-time flashbacks of her time on the infamous ship and picking out unsuspecting audience members to play young Rose. She introduces us to the rest of the characters onboard including Jack, his friend Mario (spoiler alert: who is dressed up as Mario from Super Mario Brothers and has a hysterical moment at the end of the play with some other Mario Brothers characters) and of course Rose’s fiancé played in the movie by Billy Zane and henceforth was only referred to with great comedic timing as Billy Zane.
The audience involvement makes this play even funnier than it is, but only if the Rose of the moment rises to the occasion. Many prompt cards were handed upside down, and one Rose forgot to bring her reading glasses with her and made for some great improv moments from the cast.
Titanic: The Movie, The Play is a must add to your Sydney Fringe Festival list. Come with an open mind, willingness to play Rose, and to laugh at the multiple pop culture references, tongue in cheek moments and things not going to plan. This show is a thoroughly enjoyable night out and a great way to support small theatre.