Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Careless , Dec 3, 2008 **

By Russell Rigby, by La Mama
Where and When: Carlton Courthouse, until Dec 20
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Careless dips into the world of a barrister whose legal and personal life is falling apart. Paul (Adam May) is married to Linda (Carolyn Bock). She is having an affair with Paul’s barrister friend, Richard (Paul Dawber) whose star is rising fast when he appointed a County Court judge. Everything gets more complicated by a gambling industry crim (Silas James) and an ex-stripper (Deborah Tabone).

The narrative is rather convoluted and some crucial action occurs in off-stage moments as time passes in Paul’s messy world. Russell Rigby, himself a barrister, writes some funny dialogue about lawyers and crims as well as some situational comedy. The script structure is not cohesive and the dialogue needs a rigorous edit to take out the repetition and needless diversions. Rigby’s characters are not yet three-dimensional. They seem to play one note throughout and none, not even the cuckolded Paul, has our sympathy.

Carolyn Bock finds some truth and passion in Linda and Adam May plays the sappy Paul credibly. The rest of the acting is uneven. The pace of John Higginson’s production is slow and it is not helped by the numerous, long blackouts during scene changes. A totally black set design perhaps has a metaphorical intention but a stronger design might give the play more flexibility.

Rigby has a play struggling to emerge here but Careless needs dramaturgical work to turn it into a butterfly.

By Kate Herbert

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