SO WE'RE sitting in our seats. Feeling safe. Expecting to be scared, because that's what all the preview stuff about this Australian show - part of the current HOT season - has promised. But what Tamara Saulwick delivers in her solo performance is altogether subtler than what we'd probably imagined - because Saulwick uses our own imagination to do the dark and dirty work of unseating our sense of being safe, and in control.
Now we know bad things happen, but they happen to some-one else, right? Saulwick spent time with women who were that 'some-one else' and it's their recorded voices that swirl around Tramway 1, all sounding just as everyday normal and unhistrionic as Saulwick herself. But 'everyday normal' can twist in a blink: those familiar household objects laid out on a tray - the kitchen scissors, the cable ties, the sticky tape - can turn against us if the wrong hands grab them AND us... By the time the stage has gone totally dark, we've started to think, and hear, differently.
Those of us in the front row assume Saulwick won't pounce on us - she and her team move so silently in the dark we'd never know, until it happened. But the women who suffered invasions of their personal space - their recollections tell of obscene phone-calls, robberies and assault, all in their own home - were also blithely confident they were in no danger. In fact, Saulwick does pounce on us, while staying stage-side. Her astute juxtapositions of text and movement, actions and stillness - allied to Peter Knight's insidiously disquieting soundscape - catch, unerringly, at our deepest fears, unleashing the scary 'what if's...' that crowd into our thoughts when that unknown possibility goes bump, in the night.