Theatre Review: Split Second Heroes take on an action adventure – Space Theatre, Adelaide

The Space Theatre stage setting is sparse; a central console and an outer ring of lights are the only props. The three performers, Black, White and Grey enter the stage to the sound of pulsing music and start to circle around the space, slowly at first then picking up the pace. The effect is one of a clock speeding up, time slipping away faster and faster until the trio break away into a spiral.

The opening scene sets the mood for the performance as a whole; the theme of duality is clearly at the forefront of the show’s purpose. The narrator, Grey (Vincent Crowley) throws concepts and ideas at the audience in a never-ending vortex. The themes are Time and Space, White and Black, the individual versus the crowd.

Luke Smiles as White and Gabrielle Nankivell as Black have an impressive background in dance and work well together. Both are introduced individually during the performance so that we learn a little more about each character. White is the precise, nerdy stickler for detail and numbers while Black is the free dark horse, running wild and free. Like all dualities, both are distinct yet tied together.

The lighting by Benjamin Cisterne is impressive, perfectly evoking the feeling of the infinite vastness of space then focusing on the minutia of the detail. There was a real sense of the ever-passing movement of time and the relationship to space that we inhabit. The use of vintage nostalgia toys and figurines add to this perfectly.

The story of Split Second Heroes is that of the everyday hero. We can all be a part of a vast collection of people, yet everyone has the ability to be a hero to someone at sometime. Once again the opposite occurs simultaneously.

Split Second Heroes is a thought-provoking tale of the future set in the present that explores the meaning of life in an energetic and entertaining way.


The world premiere of Split Second Heroes by Gabrielle Nankivell was presented by Adelaide Festival Centre as part of its inSPACE program. Its brief season ended on 29th July. The reviewer attended the 27th July performance.


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