Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Troy's House by Tommy Murphy , La Mama, Feb 1, 2005

Troy's House  by Tommy Murphy 
 La Mama, Carlton Courthouse, February 1 to 19, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 1, 2005

Troy's House, written and directed by Tommy Murphy, may have greater appeal to an audience of teenagers. 

The central characters are eighteen years old and adolescents may identify with their agonising over unsatisfactory teen sex, smoking bongs and getting stoned and plenty of swearing.

The show feels more like a university drama production and, in fact, most of the cast cite Sydney University Drama Society and Australian Theatre for Young people as their backgrounds.

The play was written in the late 1990s when the writer was only eighteen. The immaturity of the writer is evident in the problems in the script that seems nto to have been rewritten for its new season.

The story, such as it is, concerns four Canberra teens who recently completed Year Twelve and have no idea where their lives are heading although this topic is not satisfactorily explored.

Felicity, (Anna Yeo OK) spends all her free time at her childhood friend, Troy's (Michael Hammell OK) place because there is absolutely no discipline there. Her new, unsullied boyfriend, Ben, (Robin Hart) is shocked by the environment.

The house is a filthy chaotic dump, an ex-government house in the seedier suburbs of Canberra.

Troy's mother, Diane, (Lucy Wirth OK) is a loud, foul-mouthed, lazy slattern who makes a habit of poisoning her neighbour's cats and welcomes the local youth to use her house as a drop-in centre for partying, smoking dope, drinking nad having sex.

Troy is a dim-witted nonentity who enjoys Nintendo, growing marijuana, ferreting and pressuring his hapless girlfriend, Tania, (Julia Grace) into disappointing sex.

The characters are two-dimensional and Troy and Diane are simply caricatures who pull faces, shout and swear a lot.

Two actors (Felicity Barnes, Charlie Garber) wearing plastic wings, represent the inner thoughts of the teenagers but this device never quite reaches its potential.

The direction is often awkward and lacks any specific style. The play is uncertain whose story it is, much of the dialogue is expository and the journeys of the characters are unresolved and incomplete.

The scene in which the four kids slip into a confused and drug-induced haze is the most successful and entertaining.

Some of the issues might make useful material for discussion amongst teenagers but this play needs some more work to give it any weight.

By Kate Herbert

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