Presented by State Theatre Company of South Australia
Reviewed 24 July 2018
A holiday resort in the bush, on the edge of an infinity pool, seems to be the most tranquil place in the world; a place where you can shut off from the world and clear your mind. That is, unless you are one of the three characters in the State Theatre Company’s latest fare, Creditors. Adapted from August Strindberg’s original text by Duncan Graham, and brought thrillingly to life by director David Mealor, this tragicomedy pulses along in real time to its own irregular drumbeat.
Observations on love, marriage, fidelity and gender roles are wrung dry of every last potential drop of drama by Graham’s script. There is nothing traditional in the play’s structure—in fact, it’s almost modern in its use of constricted time to tell its decade-spanning tale. While this means there is an uncomfortable lack of breathing space for the audience, it is a tense ride from start to finish. This is well-matched with Mealor’s direction, which sees the actors bound across every inch of the set and let no stone (and potential for symbolism) go unturned. Positions of power shift constantly across an ever-changing game field, in which there are no winners. Quentin Grant’s score fittingly underpins the play’s proceedings, creating an unsettling air of discomfort in a quiet space.
Matt Crook and Peter Kowitz do a fine job of portraying master and dog in the play’s first act—however, Caroline Craig’s entrance that heralds the second is an undoubted breath of fresh air. Playing Tekla, Craig is magnetic, turning both men around with her incisive stare and smooth physicality. This is a fantastic portrayal of jubilant freedom and piercing desperation.
Motivations are revealed by Creditors’ end, but this gives the audience no sense of satisfaction. Who is the manipulator, and who is the puppet on a string? What can you trust; can you even trust yourself? Part of engaging with theatre is clearing your mind—and that leaves you open to having it filled by the author’s ideas and suggestions. That is the true terror at the centre of Creditors.
Reviewed by CJ McLean
Venue: Space Theatre
Season: 20 July – 5 August 2018
Duration: 1hr 40mins
Tickets: $76 Adults, $66 Concession, $34 Under 30 years, $30 Primary/Secondary student