“What you think about, you bring about,” says James Ray, real-life lifestyle guru and central character of ‘Hearts On Fire’. Staged in a small tent filled with sand, the play echoes that mantra by trying to make its audience experience the claustrophobic final moments of Ray’s 2009 Arizona desert “sweat lodge” retreat, where three people died. But the effect is never quite achieved. The installation is too bright, and the sweat lodge scene is the play’s weakest, as participants descend too rapidly from health to death. There are also distracting inconsistencies, with characters veering between devoted and cynical with little explanation. The cast do well with a difficult task, but ultimately the production’s power of suggestion is not strong enough.
C nova, 2 – 27 Aug, 4.50pm, 7.50pm.
tw rating 3/5 | [Sarah Richardson]