Thursday, 26 August 2004

Terrorism by The Presnyakov Brothers , Aug 26, 2004

 Terrorism by The Presnyakov Brothers 
 fortyfivedownstairs, Aug 26 to September 12, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

It is the thread of fear, danger and suspicion that links the six scenes in Terrorism, by contemporary Russian writers, The Presnyakov Brothers.

The play is a grim comic vision focussing on ordinary people in high-pressure situations. They are like time bombs waiting to go off.

The man in scene one, (Adam May) becomes the common point for the six micro stories.

He arrives at the airport only to be informed by the military that there is a bomb scare and his plane is cancelled. He is surrounded by grotesque mask like characters perched on their suitcases.

In scene two, a married woman (Julie Eckersley) is playing a seemingly innocuous sado-masochistic game with her lover. (Paul Reichstein)

Next we peer inside an office staffed by overworked and stressed people who find a colleague has hanged herself in the counsellor's office. There is an edge of hysteria in this scene.

Two grannies (Eckersley, Sophie Kelly) sit on a park bench supervising one's grandson and discussing ways to dispose of difficult family members.

At this point the links between scenes become clearer.

A dysfunctional military team return from managing the bomb scare at the airport and also from a gas explosion at an apartment.

Finally we return to the airport where the Man from scene one boards his plane in a state of terror.

Here the truth of the narrative is revealed and the connections between characters are clarified.

Although the acting of the cast is uneven, Eckersley is particularly strong playing both dramatic and comic characters. Luke Elliot's military commander and dog-loving office counsellor are both quirky characters.

Director, Victor Bizzotto, keeps the style consistent and the pace rapid. The action is often stylised, even choreographed.

The dialogue is acerbic and funny with references to the pace of modern life and the level of fear and anxiety with which we live.

The set by Douglas Iain Smith, a series of graphic pastel images reflecting elements of the stories, is a treat. Kelly Ryall's sound design adds a frantic edge to the production.

LOOK FOR: Eckersley's granny on the park bench.

By Kate Herbert

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