From Morning to Midnight @ Opera Centre

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 (reviewed Friday 14 July)

Seeing this play is definitely an “experience worth the investment”, to appropriate a quote from this masterful revival of a 1912 German expressionist play presented by The Other Theatre Company. Written by Georg Kaiser, adapted by Dennis Kelly and dramaturged by Adam Yoon, it fuses surrealism with Kubrickian vision and precision, creating a work of art that is visually stunning, complete and very strong.

The first thing that strikes you about this production is the military discipline of the 15 cast members, every single one delivering a powerful performance with ambitious, machine-gun precision. The premise is simple: a woman goes into a bank to withdraw a large sum of money; her exotic beauty does not go unnoticed and becomes a gateway drug for a bank clerk stuck in his routine desk job. He steals 60,000 marks from the vault and goes off on an odyssey of rebellion to discover what it is he has been missing that will “make life worth living”. Is it rampant gambling at an elite sporting event? Is it a brothel? Is it his own loving, devoted family? Or helping the poor via the Salvation Army? Nothing seems to satisfy his craving for a taste of the other life, the life he feels like he has been missing; it becomes a horrible experiment in the law of diminishing returns, where the value of the thing (in this case money) seems less and less appealing the more one has of it.

The other thing that strikes you about this play is the unconventional, over-the-top, ham-fisted delivery that heightens the absurdity of the existentialist crisis. It works beautifully, creating haunting, vivid imagery reminiscent of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights (this specific piece isn’t used, but has undertones of it). We do hear a slice of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue offering a throwback to the 1920s where this play is set. There are seven portable, shining booths malevolently moving around on stage that symbolise the seven stages of crucifixion that the protagonist must pass through to find his salvation. The opening scene in the vault sees the ensemble completing robotic, repetitive, tasks to highlight the monotonous soullessness of bank life. If anyone is prone to cracking under such conditions, who could blame them?

Tom Matthews as our anti-hero bank clerk does crazy extremely well. His physical capabilities to do tumbles and flips adds an extra dimension to his character losing the plot. Particularly effective is his EM-PHA-TIC! delivery that makes every word sound like a morsel being chewed, masticated and juiced for every bit of flavour. The other actors follow the same rhythm, giving a narrative that isn’t just quirky, but ironic and dystopian. Lib Campbell who is always extraordinary is once again not afraid to throw herself in the deep end in her roles, including the meek and homely housewife, who is deserted by her husband.

Eugene Lynch’s direction, with assistant director Katie Ord and choreography by Cassidy McDermott-Smith creates a magnificent orchestra, with fluidity and purpose in every transition. No glance is hollow, no nod of the head is contrived, everything about every moment is precise, clean and driven.

Adding to the beauty of this production is sound design by Mason Peronchik, the percussiveness and snare drum adding extra EM-PHA-SIS! at the right moments. Costume design, set and props by Benedict Janeczko-Taylor creates the flair and debonair of the era, while lighting by Daniel Story takes us from a bank vault to the red light district and everything in between, illuminating the crude realism of each scenario.

The weirdness of the script might take a little getting used to, but so, so worth it to appreciate this dynamic and very entertaining drama.

From Morning to Midnight is playing at Opera Centre till 22 July. For tickets and showtimes, go to

You can also view the trailer here:

📸: Matthew Miceli

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