This Storm by Ben Brooker

The crammed humidity of Tuxedo Cat's Cusack Theatre was an appropriately stifling locale for the world premiere of This Storm, The Un-Rest Cure's trio of dystopian short plays.

Adelaide playwright and director Ben Brooker starts off strongly with "Small Government", offering up the fidgety babbling of Rachel Burke as a superb counterweight to the sporadic wild-eyed roaring of Patrick Klavins, who plays the last bureaucrat in a city on its knees.

In "Point/Click", Tamara Lees and Michael Allen turn it down a notch, drolly musing on their fate as patients in a world without hospitals. Everyone bar Burke returns for "Dead Birds", the most sombre of the lot, but also the least dynamic, lacking the black humour and peaks and troughs of the first two.

This Storm in its entirety conjures anxious visions of the near future, a mess of unregulated corporatism and a population both nightmarishly overcrowded and desperately lonely. Brooker occasionally falls victim to the old temptation in dystopian fiction, to jarringly shoehorn into the dialogue explanations of what it is that ails the world, but what he has envisioned is nevertheless distressingly feasible, and the stellar cast make sure his message resonates.

★★★½

For show times and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.