Hour of the Wolf, at Malthouse Theatre - 65 minutes
What an uplifting experience Hour of the Wolf is.
It is 65 minutes of intriguing, immersive theatre that sees 12 characters interacting across a dozen rooms, arranged as a labyrinth within the Merlyn Theatre and dock.
Photos by Pia Johnson
Patrons can choose to wander from room to room at will, follow one or more performers, or a combination thereof.
We are in a small town called Hope Hill, population 2,781.
An ugly incident took place there in 1862, from which folklore sprung.
It concerns a woman known as Mrs Wolf, who takes things, including children, in the middle of the night on one fateful day of the year.
To be specific, between 3am and 4am, the very time of Mrs Wolf’s untimely demise at the hands of the townsfolk.
Each year there is a sense of unease, a portent of doom, during that hour on this day.
Hope Hill becomes a cauldron of discontent and unease.
The events of Hour of the Wolf involve locals and out of towners in several locations.
I speak of a karaoke bar, at the site of a car crash, in a hospital waiting room, at a church, in a bedroom, at a convenience store, at a party house and in a laundromat.
There are also three rooms I didn’t get to, namely a pottery studio, the clock tower and a space referred to as The Never.
There is fear, bloodshed and death.
A karaoke singer takes a shock decision to marry and move away.
A father in need of work agrees to peddle drugs to make money.
A filmmaker sacks two actors who won’t follow her instructions.
The longstanding girlfriend of one of them who believes she is pregnant kisses another man.
A newcomer to town is hiding a dark secret.
A pottery maker has the inside story on the town’s mysterious goings on.
These are just some of the narrative threads that run through Hour of the Wolf, which I found intense and thoroughly involving.
It has been wonderfully pieced together by writer and co-creator Keziah Warner, and director and fellow creator Matthew Lutton.
Fertile imagination and thrills are the name of the game.
The pair delivers in spades, aided by a troupe of dedicated and enthusiastic actors, who play their respective roles with passion and conviction.
In fact, I couldn’t get enough of the production. I didn’t want it to end.
I am definitely up for a repeat visit because you can’t see and learn about everything in one pass.
The settings feel real. They have authenticity about them. Set designer Anna Cordingley has done a mighty job arranging all necessary props.
The costuming, lighting, sound and voice over that punctuate the work lend weight to the theatrics.
The clock moves from 3am to 4am three times during each show and then you start over at 3am in a different setting.
Bravo to those involved in Hour of the Wolf, which ticks (pun fully intended) all the right boxes.
I walked away feeling buoyed by what I had just seen. Surely that speaks volumes about its impact.
It is playing at Merlyn Theatre at Malthouse Theatre until 3rd December, 2023.