Enter a secret cubby house in which time is no longer linear and anything is possible.

The only thing wrong with Cut Snake is that it's over too soon. If you blink, you're likely to be sorry you missed something in this outrageously fun yet poignant 50-minute acrobatic, theatrical rollercoaster from independent theatre company Arthur.

The script revolves around three maverick characters. There's Jumper (Kevin Kiernan-Molloy), a loveable, devil-may-care 19-year-old who, at the play's opening, is drinking his way around Europe on a Contiki tour. His sudden death, caused when the bus on which he is travelling swerves to miss a dog, introduces the bittersweet tension between risk and hope that drives Cut Snake's dramatic energy.

For the rest of the play, Jumper's closest friends, Kiki (Catherine Davies) and Bob (Julia Billington), must cope with this tragedy. Through puppetry, acrobatics and dance, they recount and enact various scenes from their past and future lives. Kiki tangos with a bearded lady on Mt Kilimanjaro, Bob longs to know who would win a fight between a horse and a hippo, Jumper juggles between his feelings for a talking snake named Trix and his love for Kiki.

Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds, and that's just the start. The highly skilled Kiernan-Molloy, Davies and Billington never miss a beat, delivering lines that depend on microsecond timing and maintaining a pace that would keep Usain St. Leo Bolt on his toes. Davies' fluent somersaults, tumbles and twirls are particularly lovely to watch.

Patterned cotton sheets and doona covers that look as though they've been pulled out of your mother's favourite cupboard form the backdrop, which extends all the way around the theatre. Walking in, you feel like you're entering a secret cubby house, an experience that sets the atmosphere for the play's magical realist world in which time is no longer linear and anything is possible. Death is the only certainty. Indeed, mortality's sadness hovers over the play, but overwhelmingly, Cut Snake reminds us that we can make life as daring, exciting and unpredictable as we imagine it to be. It's all about leaving a story behind that might be worth the telling.

This review was written about the 2013 production of Cut Snake at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre in Sydney.

Published on February 18, 2014 by Jasmine Crittenden

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