Presented by Stone/Castro and the Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE programme
Reviewed Wed 21st July 2010
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: to Sat 24th July 8pm
Tickets: adult $26/conc $21/student $20
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
Jo Stone (concept and director) and Paulo Castro (writer/dramaturg) are presenting their latest work, in which they are also performers, as part of the Festival Centre’s inSPACE programme. A group of people in a rest home become a microcosm of the world outside as we spend an hour looking in on their insular world.
As the play opens a man, whom we discover later is the nurse, is playing air guitar and vocalising the wailing guitar sounds. Hew Parham is the nurse, but there is always a vague feeling that he might not be what he seems and could, perhaps, be just another of the recovering patients, with delusions about his identity. Jo Stone is a heavily pregnant woman, sitting with her back to the others, isolating herself. Paulo Castro enters, his face hidden by a Spiderman mask, riding on a ‘gopher’. Lewis Rankin is introduced by the nurse as his nephew, there on work experience. Julian Crotti and Nick Bennett complete the cast, one a Muslim who has been in a coma for two decades, the other an ex-soldier who fought in Iraq.
We find ourselves in what appears to be the day room, with a piano at one end, a table and chairs at the other, a long bank of windows shuttered against the outside world and several doors. Wendy Todd’s set is typically clinical and uninviting, as are most of the communal rooms in places such as this, and Kerry Ireland’s lighting enhances that sterile atmosphere in the early part of the performance. This changes dramatically later when the blinds on the windows are opened, revealing the outside world: a courtyard, an armed soldier and war raging around them. Perhaps, though, this is just a projection of the wars raging within and between each of them.
The origins of this work in dance can be seen in the stylised movement and choreographed group work, but the added text expands on this, one amplifying the other. It is both a challenging and rewarding experience. For all that, though, it is somewhat confusing at times, perhaps because it is trying to cover too many issues at once. We have Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, God, Nietzsche, war, politics, peace and a dozen other concepts seemingly fighting for prominence alongside personality clashes and flights of fancy. One ends up wondering what the primary message was intended to be, and perhaps that, too, is intentional; just one more thing that this work sends you away to think about. Think about it, you will, and discuss it.
This is one that you need to see for yourself and draw your own conclusions so get a ticket, if you still can.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.