A raw and genuine look at one of the hidden crises of our time.
Reviewed at The Mill on 24 February 2019
Presented by The New Olimpia Theatre Company
A young man, Luke, is placed up against his future. Blinded by a mixture of ignorance and bravado means he doesn’t see the insurmountable difficulties of what his life will involve despite it looking at him in the face. Luke meets Ivan, the man he wishes to become. A homeless man. That is the startling reality of the content of The New Olympias Theatre Company’s show Benchmarks.
With homelessness becoming an ever more concerning problem in not only our cities but in our suburban and regional centres, Benchmarks Adelaide’s debut is timely. Performed in a tight space revolving around Ivan’s “home”, a simple park bench, Luke tries to force his way into the environment and lifestyle without quite knowing the difficulties he finds himself in. Having to hunt for newspaper for warmth from the unexpected cold typifies his ignorance to life as a homeless person.
The dynamic between the two actors is clear and there were standout moments where the communication was flawless especially with the aged Ivan’s somewhat disjointed mind getting in the way of a logical conversation. There were however moments during their individual monologues, brief periods where they seemed to drift apart, losing the established connection they had built up before re-joining for one of their regular confrontations. It is a good theatrical tool to establish isolationism during an inner monologue but it seems to occasionally miss its mark. It does not take away from the content of the play which was decidedly unapologetically honest and had a clear effort not to be presumptuous or disingenuous. A healthy and important way to look at one of the hidden crises of our time.
The show is also listed in the Don Dunstan Foundations Social Change guide and seems appropriately so considering the foundations association to the Zero Homlesness project.
Reviewed by Simon Lancione
Venue: The Mill, 154 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: Until 2 March 2019
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $15 – $20