You unwrap from your winter coat inside a weatherboard theatre across the road from The Astor. Red Stitch is at the corner of Chapel St and Dandenong Rd, ensconced in the corner of a church yard. A tiny bar with quaint décor offers up mulled wine as you wait to be astonished.
You pick the buzz from patrons, their eyes dancing with eagerness for the newest offering. Red Stitch boasts 15 years of gripping playlists. ‘The plays here are something special,’ says an annual subscriber.
Lights dim, lights scream.
A screen door opens. Enters Trevor – a human with legs set wide apart. Look at him: he is shoving a string of sausages under the cushion. He leaps onto a coffee table, grabs a plush toy with his toes. Ah, wait, is he a chimp? A chance knuckle-walk, some bow leggedness and a few bounds settle your conviction. An irate neighbour with more than a few words for Sandra, Trevor’s ‘mother’, reassures you that Trevor is an animal, a wild animal, tamed, and he has been driving a car, madly, again, on the freeway.
In the intimacy of the performance, in the intensity, you are thrown aback as Trevor now and again gazes deep into the audience, and addresses you. He is breaking the fourth wall as in Elizabethan drama, makes you feel like part of a secret.
You understand his dilemma: he is a born thespian, currently out of acting. He aches for showbiz, a time gone. And more than ever, he craves to understand, be understood… But shit happens, and he cannot help that it happens. By Jove he’s an ape! And things get worse when people try to fathom him in human terms.
In a titillating seven-crew act, TREVOR is about the follies of showbiz; about the pathos of miscommunication; about hyperreality—the inability to separate hallucination from realism; and about decent people becoming perilous to each other.
In an Australian Premiere by Nick Jones and directed by Denis Moore, TREVOR is a poignant, rib-cracking and continually fascinating performance. It spotlights Rory Kelly (Trevor) and Dion Mills (Oliver) who, with depth, represent the animal world and its disenchantment with humanity, and Andrea Swift (Sandra) who, with a mother’s heart, will do whatever it takes to make it right.
Curtain call, all is silent. You notice the subscriber, a seat beside you.
‘Virtuoso,’ he says.
‘Hear, hear,’ you say.
Thunderous clapping swallows your awe.
Rating: 4.5 stars
TREVOR is running until August 26th. Book your tickets now, go to Red Stitch (redstitch.net/bookings)
Photo by Jodie Hutchinson
About Eugen Bacon
Eugen M. Bacon studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian. A computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing, Eugen has a PhD in writing. She has published over 100 short stories and creative articles, and has in work a creative non-fiction book and a literary speculative novel. Her short stories are published in journals, magazines & anthologies worldwide. Eugen is editor of MELBOURNE Magazine and sub-editor of FICTION Magazine at The Australia Times.
Profile: View Eugen's profile here