Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Silent Disco, August 8, 2011

Silent Disco, by HotHouse Theatre **** 1/2
  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • August 08, 2011 4:57PM

SILENT DISCO, presented by HotHouse Theatre at the Arts Centre's Fairfax Studio, until Aug 13, 2011

SILENT Disco, Lachlan Philpott's comic-tragic play about teenage angst, shines a harsh light on adolescents, teachers, parents and a society that has no clue how to deal with its troubled youth.

Lee Lewis's direction of Philpott's script manages to be both slick and raw. The pace is rapid, like a teenagers' party or a pop song, the dialogue has the rhythm of youth and the structure imitates the split focus of a 15-year-old unable to concentrate in class.

Philpott's writing incorporates realistic dialogue, impeccably observed characters and balances broad contemporary comedy with pathos and near tragedy. Scenes move quickly and Philpott intercuts smart dialogue with asides and the inner thoughts of the characters.

The cast give consistently passionate performances and are fully immersed in this production and committed to its story and characters.

Sophie Hansser is vivid and totally credible as Tamara, the wild and angry teen rejected by her mother and forced to live with her depressed, incompetent father.

As her bad-boy boyfriend, Squid, Meyne Wyatt shifts effortlessly and believably from bemused, confused adolescent to terrifying rage. Kirk Page is dangerous as Dane, Squid's imprisoned brother.

The versatile Camilla Ah Kin has impeccable comic timing and crisp delivery in multiple roles. She plays the caring teacher, Mrs. Petchall with warmth and honesty. Then shifts to comedy as Dezzie the checkout chick.

Philpott's play peers into the world of high schools and the fraught relationships between teachers and students, teenage lovers and siblings. He tells their stories sympathetically but with brutal honesty and no sentimentality.

Star rating: **** 1/2

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