Performed at The Substation, one of Melbourne’s most exciting theatre venues right now, Just Us is an interactive and immersive promenade work that explores Australia’s justice system.
In a biting satire about the self-serving, un-just and just plain absurd figures that walk the narrow corridors and passageways of the judiciary, Just Us presents us with a mouldering and corrupt world, a hierarchy of contempt, inefficiency and absurdity reminiscent of the works of Kafka. At the very top of the hierarchy is the big-brotheresque judge, who watches from an observation platform above us as we enter the space. What follows is an hour of roaming rooms full of over-worked lawyers, inefficient bureaucrats and abusive officers of the crown.
It’s a choose-your-own adventure. From the beginning, the audience are told to be curious; the more you pry, the more you find. And it doesn’t disappoint. I sifted through sheets of paper, read official documents and got caught a few times looking into obscure corners of rooms.
I discover a bunch of narratives, hints of which I picked up from some wonderful scenes (or should I say spectacles) that intersperse my journey. The world is surreal with heated conversations on public telephones through to some pretty remarkable acrobatics that interrupted the ‘natural’ world.
Finally, cued by the sound of bells, the audience filter into a court room. Here, the criminals, whose stories we’d discovered, were to be trailed. In the end, the system is corrupt, everyone’s guilty and no one gets off.
Just Us has a strong cast of performers and some pretty impressive technical elements. Despite the large number of spectators, the performers seamlessly navigated the audience, providing everyone with their own slice of this dis-reality.