This group’s latest production is a depressingly bleak piece, detailing the declining lives of a group of three young men, and the girl with whom one of them forms a doomed relationship. Multi-award winning director, David Mealor, tackles this difficult play, written by Patricia Cornelius and first performed in 2007. The result is an exciting and engaging night of theatre.
Tim Overton plays the central character, Gary, while the other three each take on several roles during the course of events. Their primary roles are those people who are closest to Gary. Renee Gentle plays Denise, who becomes the reluctant mother of his children, and Nic English and Guy O’Grady are his closest friends, Chunk and Aldo.
They are all in their twenties, not too long out of school, and the three men have discovered that coasting through school, not paying attention, and not caring about an education has led them exactly where their teachers no doubt warned them that they would end up. We see Gary wander from one dead end job to another, and the others fare no better.
Gentle, Overton, and English, are the founders of Junglebean, formed to allow the presentation of new and challenging work. They have had very positive reviews for their previous work and are receiving accolades for this, too. Mealor’s casting of Guy O’Grady as the fourth performer is a good choice, and he fits in well with the other three.
Kathryn Sproul is a respected theatre designer, and the elegant simplicity of the set, and the use of relevant costumes shows her experience and inventiveness. Three large plastic vertical strips are mounted so that they can be moved closer to, or further from the audience to create different spaces. Ben Flett’s lighting design takes it from there and, along with a whole range of effective lighting changes, at some points the screens look like solid walls of stainless steel shining back at us. He also adds some fine live guitar to the sound track.
This is a complex plot, with three of the cast playing multiple roles, and my going through the details, step by step, would spoil it for you. Suffice to say that we see two main stories running through the work, that of the three men, and that of Gary and Denise, each influencing the other. When you see this show, as you should if you like great theatre, you will gradually follow the lives of these four as they each travel a downward path.
The four performers are universally excellent in their individual characterisations but, more so, their ensemble work is superb. Their characters, even the smaller ones, are all well defined and convincing, and the errors of judgement made by the characters are believable because of these marvellous portrayals. The cast also handle the strongly poetic script with a nicely light touch, stating, but not forcing the metre.
Anybody with a love of quality theatre should be racing to get a ticket to see this production, as it closes on Saturday. Don’t delay.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Bakehouse web site
Venue: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: to 27th October 2012
Duration: 1hrs 35mins (no interval)
Tickets: Adults $25/Conc $22
Bookings: 0437 609 577 or on line here