[2012134] PRESS-PLAY! (Week 2)

[2012134] PRESS-PLAY! (Week 2)

Adelaide Duende Collective @ Bakehouse Theatre – Studio

9:00pm, Tue 13 Mar 2012

Whilst I found the first PRESS-PLAY! instalment a touch disappointing, I have such faith in Duende’s collective talents that I committed to the second part of the programme in a heartbeat. And that’s a Good Thing, because this pair of short plays is absolutely cracking theatre.

The first play, German Diary, sees the mundane Q surrounded by extraordinary people: the brilliantly deadpan Ivan with his obsessive hobbies and raw food activism, and unrequited love interest Sammi, whose life appears chock full of excitement and adventure. But when Q finds an appointment diary, he starts digging through its events with interest, translating them from their native German. When he decides to attend one of the appointments, it becomes evident that the diary is directing him to prior events in his life… leading to time-travelling hijinks, and the opportunity to mull on the idea of changing events in your life, if one was presented the opportunity.

Core Duendist Kieran McNamara is great as Q, imbuing the character with a hint of hopelessness early, followed by excitement and trepidation; Elliot Howard’s Ivan, though, is a scene-stealer, drawing attention to his deadpan (non-)antics whenever he’s onstage. How he didn’t brain himself as a result of the final roller-skating fall is beyond me. Dee Easton’s direction is spot-on, making German Diary an absolute delight.

The second piece in this week’s line-up, Truth Teller, is both a simpler affair and infinitely more complex. The simplicity comes from the staging: essentially, three women sitting on a couch talking. Sure, they’re talking about heady stuff: drugs, Monsanto, and a fantastic argument centred on Nikola Tesla, but suddenly – seemingly from nowhere – it all takes a turn for the bizarre. Truly bizarre. The lights drop, and it feels like every word takes on great metaphysical importance; it’s immensely thought-provoking and confusing and glorious to behold.

Both plays demonstrate writer Alan Grace’s exceptional talents – Truth Teller, in particular, is a wonderfully lyrical piece, with dense and evocative dialogue between the three women. And, as with the previous PRESS-PLAY! effort, there’s no concessions to stretch the plays out, to make them bigger than they should be: they’re both perfectly formed, exceptionally entertaining pieces of theatre. That they are both on the same ticket is an absolute bargain.

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