Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 9 May 2003
Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, REd Stitch, May 9, 2003
the 'A' Train By Stephen Adly GuirgisRed Stitch Actors' Theatre
Where and When: Rear
Chapel St Prahran, May 9 to June 1, 2003
There are three exceptional
elements in Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train: Kenneth Ransom's, Peter Evans'
direction and Stephen Adly Guirgis' script.
plays Lucius, a genuinely likeable
and charming serial killer and psychopath who awaits extradition from a New
York jail to Florida where he will be executed.
After killing eight
people because they forced him to see the sun, he discovered Jesus. Lucius is alone in a
twenty-three hour lock down security area of the jail until the hapless
accidental young killer, Angel, (Vince Miller) arrives in an adjoining cell.
Lucius's religious mania, warmth and charm with relish. He inhabits the role
seamlessly, his timing is impeccable and his characterisation flawless.
Peter Evans directs
this gritty piece with great sensitivity. He maintains a swift pace but allows
the dense dialogue to remain clear. Evans uses to
advantage the tiny space at Red Stitch's new premises. Christine Smith's design creates two claustrophobic cells
with lines of yellow paint and Dans Sheehan's lighting design adds to the murky gloom. Guirgis is an actor
writer and director with LAByrinth Theater in New
This award winning script
challenges issues about the value of life, justice and the law, preconceptions
about killers and the underclass in America. His language is
complex and intense but there is no blurriness in his message nor in the
development of his characters. It is a passionate and important piece of
Kate Cole is sympathetic and believable as Mary Jane,
Angel's jaded lawyer who rediscovers
her vocation in defending Angel. Richard Cawthorne and Dion Mills play the two prison guards. Cawthorne
gives Valdez a violent, inhumane
edge that is diametrically opposed to the humanity of Mills' character.
The play is structured
around the two inmates. Slowly, Guirgis unfolds their stories through their
solo scenes, monologues by Mary Jane or the Guard, their scenes with guards or lawyer
and finally with each other. The power of Lucius's personality is the
core of the play and Ransom makes a feast of it.