Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Brothers Wreck, June 14, 2018 ***

Written & directed by Jada Alberts, by Malthouse Theatre 
At Malthouse Theatre, until July 23, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 

Review also published in Herald Sun Arts in print (date TBC). KH
Brothers Wreck_Leonie Whyman, Lisa Flanagan, Dion Williams_pic by Tim Grey
 Brothers Wreck, written and directed by Jada Alberts, follows the tradition of the confronting family drama, peering like a voyeur through the rain-streaked windows of the Kelly family home in hot, stormy Darwin as this indigenous family struggles with the suicide of a loved one.

After Adele (Leonie Whyman) and her boyfriend, Jared (Nelson Baker), find Adele's brother's body, Adele's cousin, Ruben (Dion Williams), spirals into a combative and self-destructive phase of boozing, anger and despair that no one, including his Aunty (Lisa Flanagan) and his counsellor (Trevor Jamieson), can stop.

Alberts' linear narrative explores the intensity of familial relationships and the vastly differing manifestations of grief, ranging from rage to silent brooding or even survivor guilt. This family wrestles with internal and external strife, and each member contends with it in a different way.

The dialogue effectively represents a slice of life with its petty squabbles, raging arguments, banal domestic chatter and chores, or playful time-filling diversions.

Although the relationships have an innate truthfulness, most of the characters' interactions are driven by conflict and argument, which leads to too much dialogue being shouted, and many of the scenes feeling repetitive.

Some dialogue is inaudible and the acting is uneven and lacking nuance, however, the raw, unembellished nature of the performances somehow lends honesty and integrity to the characters.

The claustrophobic quality of this family home is emphasised by Dale Ferguson's enclosed, opaque, plastic walls and aluminium screen doors, while the internal chaos that drives Ruben to distraction is exaggerated by the grating, industrial soundscape (Kelly Ryall).

The resolution to Ruben's crisis may be too easily achieved in the final scene, corresponding with the stopping of the incessant, torrential rain, but, with the end of the inclement weather, this family comes to a sort of peace.

by Kate Herbert

Trevor Jamieson 
Nelson Baker
Lisa Flanagan 
Leonie Whyman 
Dion Williams
Malthouse Theatre

Set costume Dale Ferguson
Lighting Chris Petridis
Composition Kelly Ryall

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