The pub has closed and Simon, Leanne, and Carla are just finishing up when a thunderous knock at the door marks the arrival of Ray, who is far from being a welcome visitor. Eventually, they reluctantly admit him and he enters in a state of disarray and turmoil. His temper has landed him in trouble and, as he has to flee, he has decided that he will take his physically and emotionally abused ex-wife, Carla, with him.
Cat Jones wrote this play, based on interviews with psychologically damaged returned soldiers who had broken the law and ended up in jail in Doncaster The play looks at the traumatic effects that their experiences had on their personalities. When Allied servicemen returned from the two World Wars they were treated as heroes. They had saved their homelands from aggressors. Returning from the numerous wars since then, beginning with Korea and Vietnam, they found no such glory on their return. Their homes, of course, were never in danger in these foreign wars. That added to the mental stress placed on these men.
This, then, is what we find in Ray, a man unable to fit back into society since his time in the forces in Afghanistan. He is demanding, angry, brutal, and has little regard for the lives of others. As he attempts to get his way and manipulate the other three, we find out why he has become like this. Samuel Edward-Cook, as Ray, is a powerhouse in the role, presenting a full range of emotions, fromm quietly brooding, to seductive, and right through to full blown, uncontrolled fury. Chloe Massey, as Ray’s ex-wife, Carla, Adam Foster, as Ray’s best friend, Simon, and Kristin Atherton, as the new barmaid, Leanne, are all superb as well, so the piece never seems one sided. Director, Elle While, maintains a delicate balance, and plenty of pace, ensuring that this excellent work keeps the audience fully engaged throughout. Make a point of seeing this one.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: The Studio, Holden Street Theatres, Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: Various times and dates, see Fringe Guide or Weslo Guide
Tickets: $16.50 to $26.90
Bookings: Fringetix Box Offices, on line here, or 1300 621 255