Friday, 16 November 2012

Glimpse, Nov 15, 2012 ***

By Kin Collective
At  fortyfivedownstairs, Nov 14 to Dec 2, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

In Glimpse, a play devised by eight actors and directed by Laura Maitland with Noni Hazlehurst, the lives of many strangers intersect in obvious, obtuse or surprising circumstances where family members conflict or strangers share intimate moments.

Glimpse has some compelling characters and absorbing scenes, and the narrative plays with accidental or intentional collisions between characters whose relationships are tainted by miscommunication, abandonment, death, fear and avoidance.

Bluey, a schizophrenic, homeless man played convincingly by Dan Hamill, opens the show with his confronting, paranoid rant about his need for connection and protection.

Julian (Mark Diaco) the drunk buys a gift for his lost son, and Poppy (Michala Banas) the nurse tends to the sick, while siblings Grace (Laura Maitland) and Chris (Keith Brockett) argue over their dying mother and James (Linc Hasler) gives a resentful eulogy at his mother’s funeral.

Mary (Marg Downey) cares for her sick husband and craves love from her brittle daughter, while Ziggy (Tom Barton) runs away from his mother and writes rap songs to his long lost father.

We can see ourselves in these people and we hope for redemption, reunion and love for these flawed characters.

There are great advantages in creating a play through devising and improvisation, not the least of which is the evolution of a cohesive ensemble with commitment to the content and characters.

There are, however, disadvantages that are evident in Glimpse: the quality of the writing, acting and character development is uneven, there are flaws in the dramatic structure of the script and the quality of individual scenes is inconsistent.

Glimpse cries out for a strong writer/dramaturg to iron out inconsistencies of style, make harsh editorial decisions, sharpen individual scenes or eliminate some altogether, edit lines of dialogue and provide more dynamic range and a clearer dramatic arc.

Jason Chatfield’s inspired set design of projected line drawings, establishes location without interminable set changes, while Russell Goldsmith’s subtle sound design is unobtrusive but effective.

Glimpse is an involving production that challenges and surprises an audience and has much to recommend it.

By Kate Herbert

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