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Print Version

By Gary Henderson
Directed by Geraldine Brophy

at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 23 Jan 2014 to 1 Feb 2014

Reviewed by Maryanne Cathro, 24 Jan 2014

I walk into the theatre unfamiliar with the play but having supreme confidence in playwright, director and actors alike to deliver an excellent piece of theatre. For what else can one expect from such a line-up of proven talent? 

And they deliver. I am happy not to have seen or read the play, as it is a bit of an enigma that unfolds, answering questions it raises, creating moments of doubt as to the actors' choice of interpretation but – like the jigsaw puzzle on the table – eventually every last aspect fits together to give us a complete picture. 

It is a little eerie for me as I realise that the events of the night happen in a Wellington I know very well, down to being able to accurately guess the train station Liam uses from the times given. I find this unsettling, as if I should recognise this young man. And in many ways I do, as we all do. 

Many quips are made in the programme and publicity about the Brophys: Jed and his son Riley are on stage, their wife /mother produces and Geraldine Brophy (no relation) directs. Geraldine allows the play to be a performance piece, honing moments on stage to highlight essential shades of tension and release. As both an actor and director she always has such a superb sense of timing.

Jed Brophy plays Arthur, an alpha male who controls the action on stage. Riley is the young and confused Liam, trying to defend his actions and find a way out of his predicament. Both turn out excellent performances.

Lisa Maule's lighting is subtle and dangerous, and superbly operated by Antony Goodin. Given the restrictions of space, height and range in this theatre, it is masterly. Ross Joblin's set is infuriatingly simple, and gives us no clues as to what is happening and where we are. And yet, it is all there.

Lyrical, that's the word I want. The name of the play sets the tone for this piece – it is lyrical, poignant and challenging.

This is only the first offering from Bats for 2014, and this production has set the bar very high indeed.
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See also reviews by:
 Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post);
 Lena Fransham