Stop. Drop. And Listen. Review
ATYP’s reviewing program was created to give young people a platform to voice their opinions and experiences while developing skills in critical reflection. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of ATYP or its staff.
Stop. Drop. And Listen. written and performed by Shopfront’s incredibly talented Senior Ensemble and directed by Hayden Tonazzi and Lily Hayman, is an adventure comedy with the main plotline centring around the hunt for a magic fungus. This is also paired with moments where the cast breaks out of their characters to interact with the audience. I thought that this inclusion was a very clever and effective way of breaking the fourth wall to build up engagement and strengthen the relationship the actors had with the audience. I was very impressed with the creative use of the minimalist set, featuring a rotating platform and a circular projection screen hanging from the ceiling which depicted a game show spinner and cycles of the moon before dropping halfway through the performance. The execution of these effects was very smooth and successful in providing extra dramatic flair.
The use of lighting, changing colours and spotlighting on specific characters, as well as the use of music, was very effective in adding extra tension to certain action scenes. I also enjoyed the use of chanting, further capturing the audience’s attention to the scene. The costumes were all white, with extra accessories to bring individuality to each character, whether it was their chef costume, mushroom hat, turtle shell, tie or tiara.
The audience loved the characters, featuring magic fungi, villainous Gordon Ramslay, his French assistants, and a very patient turtle with his human son. All of these characters were hilarious and the whole cast should be commended for their energetic and authentic portrayal of their characters. Gordon Ramslay was played very well, with power and good use of vocal projection to present a very strong character. I also enjoyed his assistants, who used very impressive French accents, facial expressions and physicality to portray very believable characters. The moon shrooms, which were magic fungi that only came up in certain stages of the moon, had very creative names such as the half-moon, quarter moon, blood moon, and harvest moon. The turtle and his son both showed great dedication to their hilarious characters, which they portrayed very skilfully.
A standout scene featured the death scene of a certain character. I was incredibly impressed with the use of a never-ending red cloth to represent blood in such an ingenious way that had the audience in stitches. The beginning scenes also gained lots of laughs.
I did like the moral of “when you can’t find the end [of a story], change it”, prompting the characters to change the direction of the play. The play ended with the cast standing in a line and telling the message that while being a hero is daunting, we can all work together to advocate for change, a message that is inspirational and very relevant to our times. I would have liked, however, for this message to have been shown more with the characters and I believe that the ending would be stronger in a freeze frame with all the characters creating change instead of just presented in a line.
Overall I was very impressed with Stop. Drop. And Listen. The acting, creativity, creation of tension and breaking of the fourth wall were genius ideas and wonderfully presented by Shopfront’s Senior Ensemble members. The technical elements, such as costume, lighting, set and music were very effective. The whole experience is perfect for an audience of all ages, as it was very hilarious and playful, with a more inspiring tone to impact the audience at the end.
★★★★ Michelin Stars
Gloria, 14 [she/her]
Stop. Drop. And Listen. played at Shopfront Arts Co-op from 13-16 July. See details here.