In the early hours of the morning at the aptly named Cockburn College, the school’s oval is desecrated with a giant drawing of a phallus, and the school captain demands justice.
At first glance, the The Cockburn Incident may seem like a rip off of the hugely successful and hilarious Netflix series American Vandal. To my delighted surprise, it was not.
A comical mix of Aussie high school nostalgia, unique storytelling, and excellent physical theatre, The Cockburn Incident is a hoot for the teenager in all of us. The dialogue is sharp and witty, filled with playful references and comedically dramatic monologues.
The ensemble cast does a stellar job of switching between narration and character roles, and an honourable mention must go to Elise Wilson for her dedication to character, albeit a fairly ridiculous (but very entertaining) one.
As we follow Diane, the school captain, and her frantic and somewhat misguided search for the culprit, we meet a slew of high school characters and their relatable woes – first crushes, feeling isolated, and friends moving away.
The show is both farcical and nostalgic, an ode to the confusing time that was adolescence.
With minimal space and only a few pieces of set, the cast use this to their advantage, channeling physical theatre and choreographed movements to heighten the performance and keep the audience engaged from start to finish.
The expert use of the overhead projector to both advance the plot and have the audience in stitches was the cherry on top.
Despite a few moments of contradicting character traits and redundant use of profanity that took away from the more cleverly placed expletives, the overall creative choices were inventive and thoroughly effective.
What starts as a bemusing and light hearted premise quickly turns into an insightful and quirky portrayal of the ups and downs of high school friendship and foolery, made riotously funny by the superbly casted performers.