Picnic at Hanging Rock

Last night, I went to watch a theatre performance of Picnic at Hanging Rock {Malthouse Theatre/Black Swan State Theatre Company} at The Barbican. I didn’t know the plot beforehand, as I normally think it’s more exciting that way.

Here’s The Barbican’s synopsis:

On a summer’s day in 1900, during a trip to a volcanic beauty spot in rural Victoria, three schoolgirls and their teacher inexplicably vanish, never to be seen again. Giving a contemporary spin to Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 book, this production features five female narrators whose efforts at reconstructing the mystery are overtaken by primal forces. Amid looming hysteria, their story twists and distorts, guiding us from civilisation and order to somewhere hostile, vast and unknown.

Offering a vision of psychological breakdown as the illusion of genteel society is torn apart in an ancient land, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a sublimely unsettling theatrical experience that sends shivers down the spine. Gripping performances rip through time and are matched by an eerie soundscape and lighting design that summon the mysteries of the outback.

The production had me on the edge of my seat with its well-timed jump scares, excellent acting and effective use of sound. By the end of the play, I was left strangely unnerved. The ultimate confusion and hysteria that increased as the story went on, constantly had me grasping for the reasoning behind every event. As a result, I’m making sure I watch the 1975 film version to have a clear understanding of the plot – and I’ll be reading the novel in the summer, of course!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and would highly recommend it.

SIG 3


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