Presented by Jasmine Leech
Review 25 February 2016
Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros is a classic play filled with symbolism, humour and absurdist ideas. As a town suffers from a rhinoceros infestation strange things begin happening. As the human population decreases, the rhinoceros numbers increase and people begin to wonder: is there a link? Director, producer and star, Jasmine Leech has assembled a young cast to take on this well-known production and, although delivering an enjoyable performance, some elements remain lacking.
In the lead role of Berenger Leech performs well, giving the character an instantly likeable charm. The choice to cast Berenger as a woman is an interesting one, but issues only arise in the final scene and this is handled well by the cast. Luke Saunders has strong characterisation as Jean and manages his character’s transformation admirably. As Daisy, Jane Burton fluctuates but gives a solid performance for the most part – more expression throughout would make her character more engaging. In smaller roles, Jonathon Poulson and Sabina Fisher portray their characters with energy and charisma, making the most of the humour within the characters.
Lucinda Cawrse’s design features many elements and they are effective. Set design serves well to represent each location but is designed for look over functionality. Changes were clunky and took large amounts of time but this may become quicker as the season goes on. The design of the rhinoceros costumes and makeup is fantastic and perfectly represents every stage of the metamorphosis. Lighting by Logan Conway and Caitlyn Hearne is simple and functional. It was unclear whether absent lighting in Act 2 was a choice or due to a technical hitch – if the former, better lighting is definitely required.
As both director and performer, Leech has done a very good job keeping the show tight and organised. For the most part, the show has a solid pace and manages to maintain audience’s interest throughout. The final scene does drag, but that could partially be a result of the writing.
Rhinoceros is a complex show with many levels of symbolism. The young cast deliver a strong production but their inexperience does blur the deeper meaning of the text. Although this is not the definitive production of this show, Leech’s version does offer a fantastic introduction to a fascinating play.
Rating (out of 5): 3
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Venue: Goodwood Institute
Season: 25 February – 27 February
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: $20 – $25