Reviews //

SUDS Major 2022: ‘Everynight’ — Bottled dreams, what could go wrong?

Dreams? Captured. Corporations? Stealing. Grief? Puzzling. Puppets? Puppets.

Photography by Tom Hennessey - @tk.hennessey

SUDS new must-see production, Everynight, explodes onto the stage in a dazzling fit of comedy and poignant personal commentary. Patrons spent the performance laughing, cheering, gasping in shock, and left the theatre in tears. 

Everynight is an ambitious take on dealing with grief through the absurd and confusing truths found in dreaming. This ambition paid off: the excellence of the performance made it hard to believe the production was carried out by students, and not an extensive professional network of writers, musicians, actors and stage crew. Their many months of preparation was clear. 

The fantasy of Everynight begins with one evil corporation, ‘Everynight’. Having created a method of entering and commodifying individuals’ dreams, they market themselves as a ‘dream come true’. In comes B, who tentatively approaches the concept as a way to reconnect with their father who died in their childhood. After beginning the procedure, B gets cold feet and wants out. “You’re already dreaming!” croons Geeves, the not-a-doctor operating practitioner —  and thus the adventure begins. B’s dreamscape brings forth images of Alice and Wonderland, The Truman Show, every sitcom ever, and weirdly (hilariously), Braveheart. B is chasing closure, and being chased by Dream Cops alongside their childhood dream of musical success. The shenanigans — there’s no other word that quite captures the plot so well — are laugh-out-loud funny, totally creative, and original.

The show opens with a musical number that is, of course, catchy and choreographed, tempering the audience for the campy — and often absurd — energy that follows. The music was certainly a highlight throughout the show: energising and perfectly complimenting the balancing act of intensity and humour. In one scene, we watch a battle of the bands in which Death himself, lamenting his 9-to-5 (spoiler: he rocks), versus B’s motley crew of imagined and metaphorical friends.

Speaking of B’s friends, I haven’t even begun to discuss the puppets. Many, in fact most, of B’s encounters in the dreamscape are with puppets. The puppets had stunningly creative designs, and as such they become the wacky and the absurd of the unconscious manifest. They brought forth comedy into the most affecting emotional scenes, were written and performed in a way that made even minor characters memorable, and elevated the whole show to another level. It was a joy to watch.

The puppets belonged to a well-designed, colourful set, which blends often-changing scenery with pre-recorded videos and live stunts. The costumes were detail-oriented and carried the plot forward in novel ways, as B’s costume loses its colour as the haze of adolescence dissolves into adulthood. Imaginary best friend Grid sparkles, and a sentient coat has never seemed so human. 

As the performance closes there’s real character growth and achievement to witness. This is a testament to the show’s writing, which carries the story with grace enough to consider each character to whom we’ve been introduced, and bestow their impact with careful consideration. The journey B takes is weird, psychedelic and emotional, the heart of a comedy with depth and despair and hope.

Hilarious and touching, go see Everynight for a night to remember.

Everynight is showing at the Seymour Centre until 12 November, tickets available here.