Friday, 19 April 2002
Unidentified Human Remains, Red Stitch, April 19, 2002
Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love
by Brad Fraser
Red Stitch Theatre 80 Inkerman St., St. Kilda
April 19 to May , 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
It is some years since we saw a production of Canadian playwright, Brad Fraser's play, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love.
Although it dates a little, it is a witty, atmospheric and frightening play a serial killer on the loose. Seven characters talk to us both in isolation and in scenes together.
Fraser neatly inter-cuts fragments of dialogue from each individual with pithy scenes from the urban middle class environment of Edmonton in Canada.
Performances are uneven in this newly formed company, Red Stitch. However, David Whitelyis particularly good as the acerbic, cynical and very camp gay guy, David.I suspect his is the voice of the writer himself.
Brett Cousins is excellent and charming as Kane, the gauche wealthy youth who has a crush on David. He is a talent to watch.
As Candy, David's housemate, verity Charltonhas a feverish intensity appropriate for such a driven anorexic.
Vincent Milleris miscast in the vital role of Bernie, David's married, violent and unpredictable friend. He lacks the necessary power for the character.
Wayne Chapple's direction is neat and stylish, accommodating the long narrow space effectively. Actors are seated in chairs spread along the back wall. Nick Merrylees'lighting design highlights each in their various monologues.
Some of the pop culture references are out of date now but this could be fixed easily. Fraser writes with intelligence and a sense of the dramatic tension. He uses the serial killer almost as it might be used in a movie: to heighten off-stage fear, sexual tension and suspense.
Everybody lies, says the play. Everybody is also out to get what they want, often at the expense of others.
The complex and fraught lives of these 20-somethings include Jerri, (Olivia Connolly a lesbian, obsessed with Candy and Robert who is Candy's dopey lover (Daniel Frederiksen.
The hooker, Benita,(Kate Cole) is the least successful character whose psychic abilities solve the serial killer crime rather too easily.
Fraser writes compelling theatre and this production captures some of his power.
By Kate Herbert