In the midst of the comedy, good cheer, magic and mayhem of the Fringe, comes something altogether more serious. [Disordered] Action of the Heart is set during the First World War and portrays the relationship between Sister Nellie Morrice (played by Sasha Dyer and borrowing aspects from the nurse and administrator Nellie Constance Morrice, MBE, RRC) and the fictitious Private Dylan Moxley, played by Peter Norton.
As Moxley is nursed back to the post-trauma-1915-definition of health by Morrice in a hospital in Egypt, the story of his journey to war and his life back home emerges.
Solid and, at times, appropriately moving performances from Dyer and Norton keep the attention despite the gentle pace, and Dyer convincingly and elegantly switches between Nurse Morrice and Norton’s wife, Gwen. Noteworthy is Norton’s handling of the disturbing treatment employed to aid his character’s complicated recovery.
Directed by John Boyce, the historical liberties won’t detract from the interest of the content, but the set, staging and pre-recorded dialogue might. I was engaged in the progression of the story and wanted to see the action and, particularly, hear the doctor better than I was able.
Nothing dampened the enthusiasm of the opening night crowd’s applause however, clearly indicating appreciation of the performance which utilises content from Morrice’s real-life archived diary entries.
Written by Craig Wood and James Trigg, [Disordered] Action of the Heart is an interesting depiction of the consequences of the trauma of war; a concept so very different to the image of the brave battlefield soldier. Rated PG, with the tag line, “We forget they can’t”, if you like your war story with pathos instead of gore, “dig in”.
One of a Pair will donate $1 from the sale of all tickets to Red Cross Australia, in recognition of their continued support for marginalised people the world over.
Reviewed by Gordon Forester
Venue: Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide
Season: 01-08 March 2014
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $15 – $27
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255