Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
Have I No Mouth, Oct 10, 2014 ***1/2
Cannon & Gary Keegan; by Brokentalkers; Melbourne Festival; Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse; Fri
Oct 10 to Mon Oct 13, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:***1/2 Not a Herald Sun review. KH
a performance that deals with family bereavement and anger, Have I No Mouth is
surprisingly sweet, gentle, funny and approachable theatre.
theatre maker, Feidlim Cannon and his family suffered a horrifying loss 13
years ago when Feidlim’s father, Sean, underwent an unnecessary and dangerous
surgery that caused his death.
Have I No Mouth, Feidlim’s mother, Ann, and psychotherapist, Erich Keller, join
Feidlim on stage to explore and expose their lives and grief in a conversation.
touching story encompasses Ann’s first date with Sean, Feidlim and his
brother’s childhood, the death of baby Sean, the third son, and Sean Cannon’s
untimely and horrific death.
a near-empty stage, Feidlim and Anne, joined by cardboard cut-outs of Feidlim
and his younger brother, Padraic, quiz each other about their family life,
share tales about Sean, list objects that are important to them in telling
their stories and argue about points of difference in their memories.
enter their intimate world, hear their recorded therapy sessions with Erich,
see pictures and film of the family and experience their joy, grief and rage.
style is unembellished and natural, using simple theatrical devices such as
direct address and some audience participation, but also employing Psychodrama
techniques to replay moments for Ann and Feidlim, or to allow them to engage
with Sean through role play.
audience all blow up balloons while Erich explains that the balloons represent
our rage that must be let out ina controlled way, not in one emotionally
with his head wrapped in bandages, becomes the silent presence of Dad/Sean, and
enables Feidlim and Ann to confront their past, ask Sean important or
unimportant questions, and, in Feidlim’s case, to vent his grief and anger in a
frightening wrestle with dad (Erich).
a poignant scene, Feidlim leaps into Sean/Erich’s arms saying, “Catch me. Hold
me. Rock me. Don’t let me down.” We feel and see the child in the man, Feidlim,
as he struggles to hold onto his feeling of his father.
is warmth and sadness in this performance and a sense of identification with
the Cannon family; a sense that this tragedy could happen to any of us.