Fleeto by Paddy Cunneen – 2012 Adelaide Fringe


Presented by Holden Street Theatres and Tumult in the Clouds.
Reviewed Wednesday 22nd February 2012.

Paddy Cunneen's powerful drama, which he also directed, is written in authentic Glasgow street vernacular. Wee Andy is in hospital, the victim of a knife attack, his face badly slashed. His best friend is distraught and very surprised by the attack, explaining that they were both rather withdrawn and tended to have fun quietly at home, rather than as gang members on the streets. That is about to change.

Cunneen draws on Greek tragedy as a model for the style of this work and the dialogue, in blank verse, references Shakespeare. At the centre of the piece is Mackie, played by Jordan McCurrach, who cannot understand why his friend Andy was targeted by a gang for such vicious treatment.

At this vulnerable moment Kenzie, played by Neil Leiper, appears, calls the 'fleeto' together and inflames Mackie's temper, drawing him into the gang, handing him a large knife and pursuing two men at random, one of whom they injure. As they close in, the other of the men turns to protect his injured friend and Mackie stabs him, killing him. Violence begets violence, and one thing leads to another as events escalate.

Andy Clark, as a police officer investigating the crime, acts as the Greek chorus, commenting on and illuminating the text. Things come to a head for Mackie when he finds himself faced by the mother of the man that he killed, played by Pauline Knowles. She is still in shock, has been driving for hours and has no idea where she is. She is, of course completely unaware of his identity as he tries to justify 'the killer's' actions, in a roundabout way, by blaming his environment and family life.

McCurrach, Leiper, Clark and Knowles are all superb in their roles, bringing completely believable characters to the stage in this dark, powerful and gripping drama. McCurroch goes through a wide panoply of emotions as Mackie finds himself caught up in events that overwhelm him, that cause him to strike out unthinkingly, and Leiper is highly charismatic as the gang leader who seems to have a Svengali-like hold over Mackie and the other gang members, until he pushes Mackie a bit too far. Clark is very involved, as the police officer, in his business of investigating the crime, but his emotional side and personal thoughts give him a three dimensionality that makes him more than just the usual Greek chorus. Knowles is quite remarkable as the victim's mother, her silence at the news of her sons death more moving than any histrionics.

A few locals were recruited to join the cast as gang members and Tom Cornwell, Alex West, Nic Pernini, Ben Cosh, Lachy Micklewait and Brodie Perone look the part as housing estate kids with no life, no future and a lot of anger to expend. This is a fine piece of theatre so don't miss it.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

Adelaide Fringe
Holden Street Theatres
Tumult in the Clouds website

Venue: The Studio, Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: To 18th March 2012
Duration: 55min
Tickets: $10 to $25.50
Bookings: FringeTix 1300-FRINGE (1300 374 643), FringeTix outlets, or online

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