Deviations by Allen O'Leary. Directed by Iain Sinclair. Elbow Theatre Company at Currong TheatreNovember 23 – 25, 2000, 8pm. Transferring to La Mama, Melbourne, November 29 - December 17.
Four characters, Richard, Susan, Matt and Karen begin in pairs which become crossed and double-crossed; in Act 2 they appear in a foursome, which breaks again into pairs, and ends with Karen alone. In this nicely structured black comedy of Melbourne manners, Michael Butcher, Lenore McGregor, Pip Branson and Lucie O'Brien form an equally balanced ensemble performing highly unbalanced characters. From laughter of recognition, through laughter in sympathy, to silence of horror, opening night of this preview season proved both the play and the performance a very worthwhile night of theatre.
If you've missed it here, then you may pick it up in its 3 week season in Melbourne, where La Mama is fully sponsoring the run. However, since artsACT funded the final development of the script, we can only hope that local funding may also be found to present a longer return season here in the future.
Playwright Allen O'Leary, originally from New Zealand, has picked up the tone of North Fitzroy and Collingwood, producing an almost olde worlde inner city charm in a drama of mixed sexuality, in which independent company-owning architect Susan hopes that her new relationship with Brunswick Street waitress Karen may develop from desire to lust, to sex, and to love - in that order. But we find that loving someone is not the same as liking them, let alone desiring, lusting or having sex with them. The problem, as Karen says, is that it's not easy to stop loving someone. When, in the final tragic twist, she no longer has Matt, Karen moves to the busy city of sharp sunlight, Sydney, to be herself, alone; while Susan has no choice but to support Richard in his new bout of insanity, just as she has had to in the past.
Challenging theatre is Elbow's metier, and early next year expect more new work from local writers as well as imports; while later, founding members Kenneth Spiteri and Iain Sinclair will turn to Europe for further training, at the Atelier Ecole du Mime Corporel in Paris and the Theatre Institute in Amsterdam respectively.© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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