‘Yellow Hut’ great start to the Globe’s year

Yellow Hut
Globe Theatre
Tuesday, March 19

The yellow hut looks like a typical tramping hut: minimally furnished, with bunks, a table, various bits and pieces and some leafy debris. A cute little window gives the audience an indication of the bush setting. The hut is only a few hours from civilisation, but there’s snow outside and no cellphone coverage.

It’s Saturday night. Six occupants arrive in pairs, and at first it seems fairly obvious who knows who and why each person is there (with a couple of exceptions), but as things progress identity and motive become less certain.

A dodgy-sounding ghost story is told, and the presence of guns and a bottle of whisky complicate things further.

Ella West’s thriller is satisfyingly complex, with a neatly contrived plot, contemporary themes, and characters who turn out to be all too believable. Tension builds quickly into suspense, and there’s a good level of action.

The six, Nic Turner, Sheena Townsend, Kairi Mortensen-Morunga, Jackson Rosie, Jacob Blomfield and Andrew Matheson maintain a good pace throughout and admirably meet the challenges of portraying their diverse and not always sympathetic characters.

Co-directors Jess Keogh and Calum Beck are to be congratulated for a highly successful production on Tuesday night that kept the at-capacity audience, some of whom looked as though they might well be bona fide trampers, guessing from start to finish.

The play may not, however, be for everyone.

People who are likely to be distressed by the depiction of domestic and other violence may need to think twice before booking.

Yellow Hut is a great start to the Globe’s varied programme for this year.

If this is the standard we can expect, Dunedin audiences have much to look forward to.

Review by Barbara Frame