Presented by Lazy Saturday Productions
Reviewed 2 March 2015
From the opening lines of Bill Gallagher’s Darkle (talking of keeping patients thumbs as souvenirs and how to eat televisions made of meat), one knows that they are in for something slightly skewed and out of the ordinary.
The title, Darkle, is extremely appropriate: this is a very dark, blacker-than-black comedy (although to call it a comedy seems wildly inappropriate).
Three young people – a hairdresser, a nurse and a butcher – living their realities through fantasy, rent a house from Mr Skinner, a tabloid and media obsessed loner whose only friend and companion is his dog Max (played very cutely by a real dog named Ruby). To teach the landlord a lesson (simply because he’s stupid), the tenants kidnap the dog.
It’s a seemingly simple storyline in which Gallagher layers many, many complexities, mind games, power plays, childish pranks and bullying which all play their part in this well-crafted masterpiece of writing.
Ceri Horner, with able assistance from Rodney Hutton, intelligently directs a script many would shy away from. Horner’s pacing and blocking is exemplary. Her and the exceptionally fine cast – Emma Bargery, Kat Jade, Dave MacGillivray and Tom Russell – keep the play real and naturalistic, whilst still managing to bring out the fantasy and psychological elements required.
This is the type of production where it is difficult to praise the actors’ techniques too highly without spoiling the dénouement. Suffice it to say, MacGillivray lends his professional training and experience wonderfully; Bargery and Jade irritate beautifully; and Russell delivers comic timing far above his youthful years.
This production from a new local company is the type of uncomfortable, thought-provoking theatre we need and deserve in Adelaide. Although called Lazy Saturday Productions, there is nothing lazy about this excellent production.
For true lovers of good theatre – not to be missed!
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Rating out of 5: 5
Venue: Holden Street Theatres – The Studio, 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: 1 – 8 March 2015
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $17 – $25
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)
Disclaimer: Director Ceri Horner is a regular contributor to Glam Adelaide.