Review by Shannyn Warren
The audience is thrust into a dark room looking at a television, spun around via flashes of light and beckoned into rooms deeper inside a labyrinth of secrets as dark as the rooms at the wharf theatre – and just between us – it’s wonderfully exciting.
The production sees eleven monologues created by a group of talented folk under 25 and performed by some promising adolescents. It’s about coming of age, leaving the innocence of childhood behind, and mostly – how secrets, above all else, are what seem to make us grow up.
One of the most poignant aspects of the play is perhaps the setting, designed by Melanie Liertz. The audience is consistently moved around an obscure curtained space via subtle stage manoeuvres or hints from the actors. Liertz’ set works remarkably well in making us feel uncomfortably involved in the messiness of other peoples business. The way the audience is positioned with the actors means that we are painstakingly present, and even sometimes in the way. It acts as a constant reminder that secrets are ever present and in our faces – even if they are the secrets of others – and are not something we can escape or move away from.
There are also some original monologues in Between us. One that grips us at the beginning is Julia Patey’s Sure, acted by the lovely Domina Roebuck. We watch her through a television screen as she speaks to a camera placed just behind. As she speaks casually, we understand she is dealing with a lost loved one, until she reveals a personal and impulsive decision she made that would destroy her if it was ever found out. The words of the script are poignant, honest, and give insight to the fact that secret or not, what she did has already destroyed her – A great piece to set the tone for the rest of the play; that here in this space, we are going beneath the surface.
Each of the actors does wonderfully in portraying the lives of confused young adults. Tom Mesker and Jordan Cowen work excellently together in Tom Mesker’s Yes. They use great physicality to bring banter and humour to the otherwise sinister theme of secrets. Also making the audience laugh, Rebeca Cuttence was brilliant in her portrayal of a young piano player who has an inner conflict between pushing herself harder, and doing whatever it takes to not live up to family expectations.
Sarah Parsons has directed a talent group, and although it was a very well directed play, it is great to see originality in the way the actors put their own personal touch to it. A thrilling start to the year, Between us, is a play to be excited about.
For more information about the play, click here.