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.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
Peddling, April 22, 2016 ***
THEATRE By Harry Melling, by Melbourne
Theatre Company MTC
Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until May 6, 2016; regional tour May 9-27, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***
This review also in Herald Sun Arts in print and online after Mon April 25, KH
us that having a family, a job or even somewhere to sleep are privileges that
are out of reach for the disenfranchised in our communities.
Melling’s monodrama, Darcy Brown plays a homeless, 19-year-old youth who goes
door-to-door in London, peddling cheap household cleaning products as part of a
scam that his unseen but formidable Boss Man calls “Boris Johnson’s Young
for his movie role as Dudley Dursley, Harry Potter’s cousin, writes the Boy’s
dialogue in galloping, rap-style, blank verse that echoes the lad’s frenetic
behaviour and disordered, often unhinged thinking.
doing what I do best. I’m making a f...ing mess,” quips the Boy, and Brown’s
feverish performance makes clear that this Boy’s mess is mental as well as
Boy, Brown frantically scrambles and slides over a skateboard ramp (designer,
Marg Horwell), leaping off it to knock on the doors of affluent or middle-class
London homes only to be shunned, patronised or summarily dismissed.
embodies this disaffected young man’s desperation and fear as he tries to
scrape a living from dodgy peddling while avoiding the wrath of his Boss Man.
Dee’s dynamic direction intersperses still moments amidst hectic scenes, and focuses
on the rhythmic language, vivid characters and shifting locations the Boy
careers around the space, tumbling over and under the skate ramp, spilling the
Boy’s addled inner thoughts then reining in his ranting to politely address
customers on their doorsteps.
a parade of characters that include a shopkeeper who sells him illegal
fireworks, the Boss Man, an obliging elderly resident, a helpful, little girl
who he calls The Gatekeeper and her mother who the Boy recognises from his
poignant craving for redemption and to find a place of love and peace are heart
evokes a sense of place as the Boy scampers agitatedly along streets and spends
troubled, painful nights sleeping on concrete in a car park, although the skate
ramp restricts the space and seems too confining for Brown’s physicality.
could pace himself better and relax a little so that the Boy’s chaotic
behaviour does not interfere with the clarity of his dialogue, thereby ensuring
that the underlying social commentary is always comprehensible.
Matthews’ rumbling, live percussion underscores the Boy’s anxious journey and
punctuates dramatic moments with thumping bass notes, although it occasionally
obscures Brown’s dialogue for those seated near the drum kit.
a tough story that uses contemporary, lyrical language to inventively
investigate life on the streets.