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“A Fortunate Life”: Perth Theatre is Alive and Well

THEATRE 180 & CinemaStage present the Award-Winning Australian Classic “A Fortunate Life” — an immersive live theatre performance in cinemas. Feature Image: Stewart Thorpe Photography.

As Western Australia stirs from its COVID-induced sleep, many theatrical and live performances are returning to local communities. One such production is that of A Fortunate Life. Based on the autobiography of Albert Facey, published in 1981 a few months before his death, the production chronicles his early life in colonial Western Australia – including his many hardships, and championing adversity through hard work, friendship, and romance.

“That in a world that is undergoing such universal challenges, where people are questioning what really matters in their lives, now is a perfect time to remount this story.”

Stuart Halusz, Artistic Director for THEATRE 180.

Hope. Courage. Ingenuity. Resilience – all milestones used as chapters within the performance, with the latter proving just how resilient the endeavour was with a long-awaited return to the stage. Prior to the March restrictions, the production had managed sold out shows in Midland, Albany, and Busselton – and now shakes off the red country dust for its Rockingham show line-up!

Albert Facey’s award-winning autobiography is brought to life in an immersive experience like no other – combining audiovisual projections, sound design, and stage presence within the familiar terrain of your local cinema. If you’re new to the realm of theatre, A Fortunate Life is a perfect steppingstone into the world, allowing for the comfort of a familiar environment, whilst the performance takes you on a classic Australian underdog tale.

Despite an unfamiliar story, A Fortunate Life is a brilliant tale of heartbreak and hope, with a sobering insight into colonial Australia, and the amenities we are so accustomed to.

The production is a unique mixture of mediums, with video projection on the silver screen, which is at times interacted with by the three cast members. The sound design was brilliant, and even caught some audience members off guard – truly drawing them in from start to finish. The use of historical images added a powerful element to the narrative, alongside the surprise of seeing popular areas of Perth in their infancy.

The cast worked seamlessly together, switching between a myriad of characters that, after an initial acclamation by the audience, were easy to navigate who was whom throughout. This meant the actors not only had to organically shift between their many roles and learn the various lines and accents of these characters, but it also meant shifting gender at times – proving their individual strengths as performers. The stage presence, and choreography were highly engaging, and impressive – amplified by the use of props per individual character.

A Fortunate Life is Western Australia’s first step in to live theatrical performances since the pandemic occurred, making a sight for sore eyes, and a damn pleasure to smell fresh popcorn again.

A Fortunate Life includes West Australian favourites: Rebecca Davis, Benj D’Addario, and Michael Abbercromby. Written for the state by Jenny Davis and Stuart Halusz (and Directed), Composed by Ron Siemiginowski, with Audiovisual Design by Green Man Media, and Sound Design by Ben Collins.  

For further bookings at ACE Rockingham (30 August, 1-13 September), or future performances at Geraldton Orana Cinemas (17-19 October) check out their website: www.afortunatelife.com

by JOSHUA HALL HAINES
Editor-in-Chief, the Independent Press Co.

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