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.
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Desert 6.29pm, Nov 22, 2017 ***
Written by Morgan Rose, Red Stitch
(Red Stitch INK new
At Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre until Dec 14, 2017
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Wed Nov 22, 2017
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Thurs Nov 23, 2017, and later in print. KH
Eva Seymour, Sarah Sutherland, Joe Pertucci, Darcy Kent_pic byTeresa Noble
Finding one’s identity can be a lifetime task and all members of the unremarkable family in Desert, 6.29pm struggle to define their places in the
world and find it even harder to explain their confusions to loved ones.
Morgan Rose’s play peers
into the very banal lives of Xan (Eva Seymour), a stroppy, 17 year-old,
closeted lesbian, her mum, Crystal (Sarah Sutherland), dad, Rico (Joe Petruzzi),
and older brother, Jamie (Darcy Kent), in an isolated, country town.
Xan’s behaviour becomes
more manic, secretive and bizarre when she spirals into grief after her mother announces
that local girl, Jo, has thrown herself off the overpass.
reactions, and the self-narration that accompanies that behaviour, indicate
that Xan had an intimate relationship with Jo that she is unable or unwilling to
reveal, so she remains trapped and alone in her grief.
half of the play is the more effective, with its comical, well-observed
dialogue, characters and relationships that highlight the ordinariness of this
family, their respective fantasies and thwarted ambitions.
the second half loses momentum when it diverges too far from Xan’s story and
shifts focus to Jamie and his girlfriend, Abby (Ella Caldwell), sending the
story off the rails, with little being satisfactorily resolved or completed by
Balodis’ direction starts briskly and effectively but the short, snapshot
scenes are too frequent in the latter half.
Xan has a brittle edginess but it is a difficult role as Xan’s adolescent
meanness is so dislikeable even though we sympathise with her grief.
is a delight as Crystal who craves approval and scrambles to keep the family
functioning, while Petruzzi captures Rico’s bluff, blokey quality that hides
his morbid fear of dying, and Kent embodies the video game geek who has not fulfilled
script, developed through Red Stitch’s new writing program,also has potential but it still needs
Cast: Eva Seymour, Joe
Petruzzi, Ella Caldwell, Sarah Sutherland Darcy Kent
Director - Bridget Balodis
Set costume -Romany Harper