Natland Theatre @ Worldsend Hotel
9:00pm, Fri 27 Feb 2004
Short Review: Intense and confronting
A hot, steamy Friday night upstairs at the Worldsend. I sit in the front row, directly in front of a battered and bleeding Renato Musolino (Danny), drown in his pain and hopelessness before the show starts. Leaning at the bar, Danika Gael-Krieg picks at her pretzels, musing aimlessly. At the back of the room, a guitarist strums. The atmosphere is gritty, smokey, textured – there is a real feeling of the underclass that these people belong to.
And then the show starts – and it is brutal. The two characters verbally and physically attack each other relentlessly, each trying to get the upper hand. This scene is draining, moving, stunningly powerful. A short intermission, and the second scene commences in another room, a bedroom scene. At first the abuse seems to have ceased, that the characters have found solace in each others company; but then the assault begins again, on a far more intimate – and damaging – level.
Make no mistake, this is not flowery theatre. It’s harsh, abrasive – “brutal” is the best fit, but I’ve probably used that a dozen times already. But this is a thoroughly excellent piece of theatre – all the performers are excellent, and Casey Van Sebille’s set design for the bedroom scene – the audience views the performers through holes cut in the walls of their enveloping box – is inspired (I often found myself using the rectangular holes as a makeshift movie-camera, framing the action as I’d like to see it on-screen).
Excellent, excellent stuff. Well worth the trip out to the Worldsend.