INTELLIGENT, ORIGINAL, POLISHED
FUEL Festival 2012|
Atonal Heart : four monologues
By Michael Switzer and James Cain
Directed by Michael Switzer and James Cain
at Dance Studio, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Hamilton
From 4 Jul 2012 to 5 Jul 2012
[1 hr 25 mins, incl. interval]
Reviewed by Brendan West, 4 Jul 2012
originally published in Aardvarkian blogsite
Atonal Heart is a production that has steadily gained steam since its creation. Penned by veteran Hamilton playsmith Michael Switzer and relative newcomer James Cain, it is presented as a set of four monologues that interlock in style but not narrative. Originally staged as a part of the 2011 Fringe Festival, it has shed some of its homegrown garments, slicked back its hair and launched onto the Fuel stage. Let it be said before anything else that it is exactly what Hamilton theatre needs at the moment – intelligent, original and polished work operating on a sensible scale. Any prospective Fuel-goer should not think twice about supporting it, and if they do, think three times.
To begin with, these are actors' plays. Young guns Henry Ashby and Michael Burrow really get a chance to hone their business, often in very subtle and intricate ways. Whether it be Burrows's grinning playful mask slipping for a second of raw pain in 'Down the Plughole', or Ashby's relentless predatory pace in 'And The Winner Is', these are scripts that encapsulate moments of very personal, very fractured and sometimes delightful humanity. Where Michael Switzer's two pieces were full of very clever and professional writing, including particular moments of narrative brilliance, I felt in this venture James Cain took the scriptwriting ribbon. If 'Vigilante Etiquette' and 'And The Winner Is' were finely painted portraits, then 'Two Weeks Notice' and 'Down the Plughole' were Impressionist vistas, dancing the line between truth and sorrow with extraordinary perception for a playwright so young. One should not assume that this production leaves the audience depressed, however. There are some hilarious moments lying in wait, often at the most unexpected moments in the script. [More]
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