There’s nowhere to hide in the Urban Fox Theatre Company’s production of Globophobia. The audience surrounds the stage on three sides, giving the production an intimate feel that works well the subject matter. Told through a series of monologues, conversations and interconnected stories, Globophobia is a character-driven piece examining what it means to live with fear. Seven ordinary people attempt to navigate adult life while still carrying the remnants of childhood fears with them. A doctor leaves a jam sandwich out on the doorstep every night to keep the ‘wolf’ of poverty away, a professional woman is so scared of vomiting that she starves herself and a twenty-something forced to return home after a failed marriage is so terrified of choking in her sleep she spends nights wandering the streets of her hometown.
None of these fears are rational, but the role and influence they have within the lives of the characters is very real. That is the driving force of the production: the tension that arises between the rational, practical side of modern living and the irrational, almost primal instincts that exist within the mind. There are no goodies or baddies in Globophobia, just ordinary people easily recognisable from everyday life but with the curtain of privacy well and truly pulled back.
The acting in the production is excellent. The focus regularly shifts between characters, threads of narrative stopping and starting in a way that could be distracting if not handled with care. Yet every individual segment was well staged and clearly defined. The script sometimes borders on overly verbose, but this is a very minor criticism and overall the high standard of acting really shone through.
Globophobia is a show that makes you think and will stay with you long after you have left the theatre. It offers no easy answers or resolution of conflict, yet the production doesn’t require any, the characters are so well developed that it’s enough to be privy to their lives for a while. Oh, and in case you were wondering, globophobia is the fear of balloons.