The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage










If you’re a lover of sci-fi and dystopian futures, an enthusiast for stories about rebelling against capitalism, and a fan of talented casts filled with local actors, Starweaver is the play for you this winter.

Filled with cyberpunk aesthetics and a unique use of modern technology, multi-award-winning theatre makers, Madness of Two, have brought sci-fi to the Adelaide stage in a way you’ve never seen before.

Starweaver is set in an imagined capitalistic future, after humanity has colonised Mars, created neural interfaces, and blocked out the stars with excessive satellites and light pollution. You can tell the inspiration of the work was sparked from Elon Musk’s Space X program.

Cato, played by writer Ellen Graham, learns to stop hiding from the ever-growing surveillance state and instead embrace community and the power of revolution. Joined by fellow revolutionaries Cassius, played by writer Jamie Hornsby, and Terra, played by Maeve Hook, they face the inherent moral dilemmas and emotional upheaval of direct political action.

The uniqueness of the play is not only in its ability to lean into heavy topics with grace, but its incorporation of modern technology onto the stage.

With the assistance of Australian Writers’ Guild’s David Williamson Prize, Hornsby and Graham have incorporated motion capture technology, CGI, and other computer related systems into Starweaver.

With Flinders University Drama Room’s The Void being utilised as the play’s venue, the room’s large screen is turned into not only a moving backdrop but also an integral prop for the performance.

Dozens of locations were created for the backdrop of Starweaver, many of which are animated or incorporate CGI people that react to the performance as if they were extras onstage. That multiple segments shown on the screen were clearly pre-recorded shows the skills of the actors, as they respond to and interact with the screen as if it were live.

This only increases the immersion into the performance, as each and every actor grips the audience’s attention with their accomplished emotional control and line delivery. From being overcome by anger and grief, to a light-hearted joke a scene later, the talented cast will keep you on the edge of your seat with tears in your eyes.

However, one downside of the unique CGI backdrops to set the location of each scene, is that in relying on it, the transition to a new location can be rather jarring. Instead of the usual change in lighting and props to indicate a new place, the screen’s background would blur and change rapidly. This was mildly immersion breaking at times, but overall wasn’t too problematic.

Flinders University staff and students are not only behind the CGI and computer visual effects, but they’re on stage too. As the entire ensemble cast is made up from current students undertaking a Bachelor of Performance.

A highlight of Starweaver, other than the unique visuals and talented cast, is the design and costuming in the play. The cyberpunk aesthetics peak in the use of flashing lights and pieces of ‘machinery’ on the casts faces and limbs.

As the 90-minute performance is located in The Void at Flinders University Drama Centre, there are a limited number of seats. Which is a shame, as more people can’t experience this incredible performance during its limited run.

The intimate venue does have a minor drawback depending on where your seated within the space, as some of the AI and faceless characters are voiced by real people behind you. This can break the immersion slightly if you can hear them outside the speakers, but with such a small space there isn’t much that can be done.

The Void is also rather warm, so it’s recommended to leave your coats outside during the performance. Keep your tissues on you though, you may need them.

Also, be aware that the University building’s will close by the performance’s end, so you may have to walk around outside to access your car depending on where you parked it.

At its core, Starweaver is a play about seeking community, believing in things you can no longer see with your own eyes, and fighting for what you believe in.

For the next week only, Adelaide is home to the innovative, emotionally heavy, gritty, steampunk sci-fi experience that is Starweaver.

Don’t miss your chance to see it for its inaugural run.


Starweaver. The Void, Flinders University Drama Centre, until 6 July 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *