Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 18 August 2013
night maybe, Aug 17, 2013 **1/2
By Kit Brookman, Stuck Pigs Squealing Theatre
Works, 17 Aug until 1 Sept 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on
17 Aug Stars: **1/2 Review also published inHerald Sun
online on Monday 19 Aug, 2013, and later in print. KH
Sarah Ogden, pic Sarah Walker
Kit Brookman’s stylised,
non-narrative play, night maybe (sic),
is written in such a circuitous and abstract form that it becomes a cryptogram
that is virtually unbreakable.
This enigmatic play,
directed imaginatively by Luke Mullins, opens with a beautifully lit scene
(Richard Vabre) in which the timid, socially inept Sasha (Sarah Ogden) follows
her gay, younger brother, Tom (Tom Conroy), as he escapes the family home.
The courageous, volatile
Tom flees, leaving frightened Sarah alone to await his return.
As if in a smoky dream
world or the afterlife, Sasha drifts through misty parklands, grim laneways, a
riverbank – she even ends up in Siberia – meeting ghostly characters that
sometimes resemble her brother and his friends or are just eccentric strangers.
Are you confused yet? The
piece becomes more and more disconnected, obscure and dislocated until the
final scenes that reveal no more than we knew at the beginning – despite the
cryptic explanation in the program notes.
Having no linear narrative
is fine as long as the abstraction serves a theatrical purpose.
However, the embedded
themes and non-specific characters never pay off here, and we do not discover
the point of this mysterious journey and its poetic ramblings.
The great strengths in
Mullins’ production are Mel Page’s environmental set design that uses real turf
and bare-branched trees, and Vabre’s evocative lighting that creates a
mystical, compartmentalised world for these creatures to roam.
The actors work very hard
to provide meaning to this piece but the play wanders aimlessly just like
Sasha’s ambiguous journey through darkness.
Despite the lack of
clarity in the script, Ogden makes Sasha sympathetic while Conroy is playful
and entertaining as Tom and as the sassy teenager, Sally.
Brian Lipson’s skill is
under-used as the spooky stranger and Marcus McKenzie makes some skimpy
characters a bit interesting.
frustrating play has all the hallmarks of an ambitious, young writer who lacks
technique but chooses to deconstruct before he knows how to construct a script
for the theatre.