Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Killing Jeremy by Bridgette Burton, Dec 6, 2006

 Killing Jeremy by Bridgette Burton
Hoy Polloy and Baggage Productions
Courthouse Theatre, Wed to Sun 8.15pm,  6 to 16, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Killing Jeremy, by Bridgette Burton, is a two-hander about a young woman coming to terms with her boyfriend being in a coma after a serious car accident.

Director, Wayne Pearn, leaves the stage clinically empty apart from a single hospital bed and a chair. The play begins with Madeleine (Burton) seated by Jeremy’s (Fabian Kahwati) bed, chatting to his lifeless body about their lives, her dreams, his family and avoiding the pressing issue of turning off his ventilator. As his girlfriend, she has no power in the decision, but Jeremy’s family are waiting until she is ready to say goodbye.

Initially, it seems that we are watching a solo show, with Jeremy merely a silent receptacle of Madeleine’s musings. Burton plays not only Madeleine, but her own mother, sister and father, a businesslike nurse, Jeremy’s cool mother and pleasant father. Rather suddenly, Jeremy begins to respond to Madeleine’s chatter, as if he were still alive. Madeleine’s secret, inner dialogue with him becomes real – at least to her.

The pair revisit their first encounter, Jeremy’s love of Heavy Metal music, their dinners with his parents, playful times at home in bed and, most importantly, the fatal drive that led to the car crash. Each time we see the couple in the car, a little more information is revealed. Jeremy wants to marry, Madeleine refuses him, he suggests she is not committed, she says she loves him but was never the marrying kind, she drives erratically and he panics.

The first half provides background to the story but the latter half of the play is the more successful as it concentrates on the relationship between the pair rather than on the other factors and characters in their lives and Jeremy’s death. Madeleine’s obsessive drive to hold on to Jeremy and prove her commitment to him is moving and the denouement tragic.

Burton and Kahwati are playful and engaging performers and Pearn’s concentration on the intimacy of the relationship is effective.

There may be a few sections to iron out in this script but it is certainly a potent vision of one woman’s journey to deal with loss.

By Kate Herbert

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