Elevator is the latest play by Thisispopbaby, showing at the Project Arts Centre, Temple bar from 6-22nd September as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.

 

Originating from conversations by director Wayne Jordan, writer Philip McMahon and executive producer Jenny Jennings the premise was born - in a world where everything is available, why are we never satisfied?

Based in a fictional country, in a mansion set deep in the woods, a group of too-rich glamorous people come together to the last party thrown by Johann-a guest we never meet in person but through expansive stories told through the characters.

The set is simple- white, leather L-shaped couches, a disco ball high on the ceiling, and the cast, although not much more is needed as the stories fill the stage. The play is shaped through non-linear scenes as the party continues without a host, each scene shedding light on the characters circumstances and releasing little but their desperate insecurities of just being.

We have Tristan- in awe of Johann, devastated by the death of his mother at a young age, Edward- attracted to all the females and yet cruel and dominant, Jonathan the newcomer, trying desperately to fit in with the crowd, Julie- flighty and playful but uncomfortable with her place in the world. Natalie is edgy, numb and amused by her ability to look down on others while Eve is the never ending party, chasing the love she cannot get from her father. Johann-the absentee chases the next big thing and pushes boundaries because he can afford to, although his hatred for his world has inevitably consumed him.

Mrs Schiller is the ever watching housekeeper, both drawn to the characters and yet intrigued by their self destruction, taking part sporadically but keeping her distance. She is often seen in behind a screen, dimly lit as she looks on at the party events.

All of the cast are seeking something- despite the lavish lifestyles and experiences that only they can afford, none are able to be at peace with themselves. The effort to constantly impress in their society prevents them from loving and yet they try anyway. They are lost, more than those without money, status or fame. They cannot exist simply and so each of them sedates themselves with drink, drugs, sex and danger. It is the only way that they know. The confusion of sex and love is shown through the characters partner-hopping same-sex or otherwise as they try to find a way to connect with their world. Animal heads and fur coats are used as the cast dress up and nudity to dress down as they become more and more inebriated. A loudspeaker features in some of the dancier numbers to add a club-feel to the party.

Elevator succeeds in showing us a bubble of a world where excessiveness kills through the loss of soul, humanity and love. The musical nature of the play lends itself to the party landscape and is at times upbeat and lively, or slow and moving-just like life. The soundtrack has been released on iTunes alongside the play so fans can relive the party over and over again. Thisispopbaby previously created the hit Alice in Funderland and the Queer Arts Festival-Queer Notions as well as the alternative stage at Electric Picnic and have won multiple awards in their five years as a company.

This play is more than a comment on society and its extremes- it is a window thrown open on the spiral of unfulfillment. Thisispopbaby succeed in their efforts once again and have created a highly enjoyable, often darkly funny production which is set to leave audiences thinking for days after. An impressive show with a quality cast and excellent music.