The second in a trilogy of one-act plays by Neil LaBute, A Gaggle of Saints is a provocative and shocking exploration of tangled lives in America. This production, directed by Lisa Waite, is bare-bones and gritty with a veneer of romance and an almost Great Gatsby style.
The half-hour play follows John (Eddie Morrison) and Sue (Chelsea Evans), a young Mormon couple who are attending a party in New York. The story of their blossoming partnership fills the first half, but things eventually turn dark after they arrive in the big city, very dark.
A Gaggle of Saints manages to cover a lot of large issues in its short run-time, from young love to violent prejudice in under 20 minutes. It’s definitely a sign of good direction (and acting of course) when two actors, with almost no props to work with, can convey a story as complex and multi-layered as this one. An interesting narrative point of view allows us access to both characters head’s and reveals the hypocrisies and conflicts within them.
Morrison and Chelsea perform spectacularly together, moving around the small stage and each other in a highly effective manner. Their projection and accents are excellent and are really well developed. Complemented by lighting, pre-recorded voice-overs and music the actors manage to create an almost cinematic experience.
The rather cosy ‘Arch’ of Holden Street Theatre is a great place to perform a play like this, allowing you to get up close and adding a palpable atmosphere. A Gaggle of Saints is a very well performed piece packed to bursting point with enough drama to fill a short novel.
Reviewed by James Rudd
Venue: Holden Street Theatres – The Arch, 34 Holden St, Hindmarsh
Season: 11 – 15 March
Duration: 35 minutes
Tickets: $15.00 – $18.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255