Friday, 4 February 2011
Invisible Atom by Anthony Black *****
Invisible Atom by Anthony Black
By 2b Theatre Company
Where and When: Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre, Feb 4-13, 2011
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars:***** (Yes, 5!)
Invisible Atom is a testament to the power of the actor. For most of the hour, I sat gaping at Anthony Black’s exceptional skill and the inexorable narrative unfolding in his poignant, ironic human tragedy. It is an epic tale of a man’s journey from security toward an inevitable, personal calamity.
Black is alone on a small, elevated stage that he peoples with a parade of complex, credible characters. With taut direction by Ann-Marie Kerr, he uses classic theatrical devices to create his story.
Under a stark light, two walking fingers create a tiny, man-puppet; a metaphor for man’s insignificance in the universe. He adroitly shifts characters in a blink by lowering or raising his spectacles, flicking his trench coat, tilting girlishly, changing accents, raising pitch or blurring vowels. It is consummate acting technique and delicious to behold.
The compelling Black self-narrates as Atom, a man drowning in an existential crisis. Atom was a successful stockbroker with an expensive house and car, a loving girlfriend and a young baby. After a bomb kills his colleagues he questions his life and begins his disastrous, downward spiral into despair.
This is not only splendid performance, but it has equally elegant, inspiring writing by Black. The production is atmospheric, hilarious, often distressing, but features gob-smackingly skilful acting.