Theatre Review: The Outsiders

Deadset Theatre Company’s Zoe Muller and Matilda Butler bring to life SE Hinton’s iconic coming of age story with a confident cast of young Adelaide actors.

By

Presented by Deadset Theatre Company
Reviewed 9 July 2019

Deadset Theatre Company’s Zoe Muller and Matilda Butler bring to life SE Hinton’s iconic coming of age story with a confident cast of young Adelaide actors.

In a city where serious shows for young actors are hard to find, Deadset Theatres’ The Outsiders is a welcome exception. Exploring the rivlarly between two gangs, the show, with cast aged between 18-24, presents the adolescent experience of idealism that is challenged by the harsh realities of everyday life. When tensions between the “Greaser” and “Soc” gangs explode, the teenagers are forced to confront their understanding that the way things are is wrong, and acknowledge their pain at not knowing how to overcome these circumstances.

The tale, originally by SE Hinton and set in the 1960s, is firmly resonant today. Moving from moments of joy to moments of deep sadness, the 120 minute run-time flies by with astonishing speed as the story explores themes of friendship, social exclusion, class difference and loss of innocence.

The vast cast (Alex Whitrow, Dylan Miller, Jai Pearce, James Fazzalari, Henry Solomon, Jackson Barnard-Sanders, Zoe Taylor, Matilda Butler, Veronika Wlodarczyk, Albert Ngo, and Charlie Butler) bursts with enthusiasm and sincerity. At the emotional peak of the story, Pearce, Miller and Whitrow’s commitment to the intensity of the moment is truly exceptional. Barnard-Sanders’ performance as Two-Bit is hilarious and dynamic, while Taylor as Cherry is smooth and convincing.

The set is used as a metaphor for the contradiction of childlike characters confronting adult themes. The bold colours of children’s playmats are stained by blood and graffiti, while mismatched furniture is scattered along the stage. Costumes are effective and reflect the class divides at the heart of this tale – the Greasers are dirty and proto-punk, while the Socs are prim and preppy. The set changes little for the duration of the play, even as the story moves from park to drive-in to church. Imagination and narration set the scene instead, and the costumes emphasise what is at the heart of this tale: superficial divisions between people with a common humanity. This is a dynamic adaptation of a well-loved classic, thoughtfully brought to life for the first time in Adelaide at the iconic Bakehouse Theatre.

Reviewed by Ana Obradovic

Venue: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 9 Jul 2019 to 13 Jul 2019
Duration: Approx. 120mins, including a twenty minute interval
Tickets: $22 full price $18 conc
Bookings: Box office (08) 8227 0505, or online http://www.bakehousetheatre.com/shows/outsiders

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