Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Water Carriers, MTC, June 29, 2011

The Water Carriers, Melbourne Theatre Co *** 1/2
  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • June 29, 2011 10:40AM
THE WATER CARRIERS, Melbourne Theatre Company, Lawler Studio, until July 23, 2011
IAN Wilding's The Water Carriers begins as a witty, albeit two-dimensional comedy about a one-night stand between dysfunctional characters, then morphs into a poignant, affecting story about two people dealing with grief and forgiveness.
Damien Richardson and Sarah Sutherland demonstrate impeccable comic delivery, as well as the subtlety required for the painfully revealing second half.
Richardson is charmingly blokey and puppyish as Dave, the rowdy, relentlessly cheerful owner of a karaoke bar who finds that the woman he invited home is not what he expected.
Sutherland is suitably weird and impenetrable as his date Kate, with her hard-eyed stare, provocative clothing and unwillingness to be seduced.
The teasing, repetitive, comical repartee of the first half is replaced by more nuanced, detailed dialogue and some long monologues that peel the masks away from the characters and their shared past tragedy.
Anne Browning directs the play at a cracking pace and takes advantage of the versatility of both actors. When comedy gives way to tragedy, we are touched by the unanticipated but genuine intimacy between Dave and Kate.
An in-ground pool dominates the sleek, glossy, contemporary design (Marg Horwell), while evocative lighting (Richard Vabre) makes the lapping water an ominous presence.
Star rating: *** 1/2

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