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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Motherlod_^e (Frenzy Theatre Company) at Theatre Works

Sixty-five minutes of glorious mayhem.

That is what you get with this extraordinarily detailed production.

It is set against the sprawling layout of a full house – broken into five rooms – a major video screen as a backdrop and two smaller TVs, stage left and right.

The cast does a mighty job with the material, which is based around one of the best-selling video game series of all time.

I refer to The Sims, which was first released in February 2000.

Players created virtual people, called “Sims”, placed them in houses and directed their moods.

Photos by Daniel Rabin

In Motherlod_^e, we see Sarah (Mili Lawson as the younger and Jorja Bentley as the older) on the big screen.

She was once an avid teenage player and is now a disillusioned adult.

Sarah resists her old PC to jump back into a world she left behind.

She dictates the Sims' personalities, their sexuality and humanity.

Her commands appear on the TV screens. "Small talk", "Find a job", "Eat cake", "Shower", "Swoon", "Kill" and many more.

Characters created notably include the Grim Reaper (Nicola Pohl), naturally dressed all in black and carrying a scythe.

Sarah can pause the Sims and fast forward their actions, which are robotic in nature.

So, she has the ultimate power and she uses it.

The tale unfolds with music and sound effects. Jack Burmeister is the master of his art in that regard, as the composer and sound designer.

Everything about Motherlod_^e is impressive. It is a huge effort, involving ingenuity and talent ... and it is hilarious.

Created by Frenzy Theatre Company (Belle Hansen and Matilda Gibbs), with Amelia Newman, Hansen also directs the production and does so with aplomb.

The actors have so much fun with the content, which the audience laps up.

Individually and collectively, the former are memorable.

Whether that be Gabriel Cali "showing" his charisma as Kevin Staffan or Anna Fujihara changing her disposition constantly as Brynlee Farr.

Equally, that applies to all the other performers in the work – Xanthe Blaise, Liam Trumble, Matilda Rose Gibbs, Nicola Pohl and Brandon Armstrong.

And that is not to overlook "the builders", who we see busying themselves on set even before anyone presses "play".

Some of those I just referenced inhabit multiple personas, but those I haven't yet mentioned are Anna Louey, Isabella Patane and Bugs Bachera.

On screen, Lillah Summers-Dixon and Hattie Elliot have roles as teenage Sims player Sarah's raucous friends.

I can only imagine the work that must have gone into getting the show ready to be presented to a paying crowd.

That, in itself, was quite some feat. What we see is slick and that includes a deliberately elongated pause.

Honestly, I had no idea what I was walking into when I entered the theatre, but I emerged energised by what I saw.

Frenzy Theatre Company is to be commended for its efforts.

Those who used to play The Sims should be the first to buy tickets, but Motherlod^e has broader appeal than that.

Confession time. I hadn't even heard of the game and I was agog and absorbed by the insanity of what was unfolding in front of me.

Motherlod^e is playing at Theatre Works until 14th January, 2023.


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