Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Right Now, April 22, 2018 ***
Written by Catherine-Anne Toupin, translated by Chris Campbell, by Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre
At Red Stitch, until May 20, 2018
Reviewer: Kate Herbert (on Sunday April 22, 2018)
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Mon April 23, 2018 and in print later. KH
Reality can be slippery and elusive, and so it is in the world of Right Now, a play by Canadian writer, Catherine-Anne Toupin.
From the beginning of the play, it seems that all is not right between Alice (Christina O’Neill) and her husband, Ben (Dushan Phillips), but their apparently shaky relationship is tested to its limits when their peculiar neighbours start to intrude on their lives.
The three neighbours’ family name is ‘Gauche’, and their interfering, critical and rude behaviour soon proves them to be gauche not only by name but also by nature.
The production, directed by Katy Maudlin, has a creeping, portentous, horror movie feel that is sometimes too heavily underscored by its ominous soundscape.
The strange abstraction and unreality of this story sometimes seems overblown and the performances a little too clownish, but there is a pay off at the end when all becomes clear.
Juliette, played with relentless, intrusive cheerfulness by Olga Makeeva, is the first interloper to get her foot inside Alice and Ben’s apartment, then she hauls in her idiotic son, Francois, played by Mark Wilson as a gawky, grinning man-child.
Joe Petruzzi effectively plays Gilles, the last but most forbidding member of the Gauche family, as an older man who exerts a quietly menacing, seductive power over O’Neill’s timid, anxious Alice.
Ben and Alice seem to be rats in a laboratory experiment, being studied, analysed and tested by this weird and obnoxious family that seems to accept its own dysfunction and thrive on the discomfort of others.
Toupin’s short, episodic scenes are like snapshots of Alice and Ben’s life as it spirals out of their control, and it is difficult not to shout, ‘Get rid of them!’ to the couple to make them evict these neighbours who have inveigled their way into Ben and Alice’s lives.
Right Now is an unsettling play that succeeds in making its audience uncomfortable and blurring the lines between reality and – well, you’ll have to go and see it.
By Kate Herbert
Set & Costume Design Emily Barrie
Lighting Design Richard Vabre
Sound Design Daniel Nixon
Assistant Director Harvey Zielinski