Posts Tagged ‘australian drama

28
Jan
13

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

Noosa Arts Theatre & SRT

Noosa Arts Theatre

24th January – 2nd February 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Unmoving figures – six silhouettes in hard hats – beautifully backlit in red, eliciting thoughts of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, appear behind a white backdrop out of the darkness of an almost bare stage. It’s already a tragic picture and I’ve come into this production cold. I’ve stayed away from rehearsals and other than the synopsis; I’ve not read a thing about Sue Smith’s Strange Attractor. You would think I might have heard updates or insights from Sam from time to time. You would be wrong. We are ships in the night when working on different productions.

 

A basic bar, a fridge, a punching bag and a few tables and chairs set the scene for what must be one of the most important newer Australian plays, about an unexpected death that rocks an outback rail construction camp.

 

It’s a pity that Strange Attractor runs for such a short season (and that the Sunday matinee was cancelled due to the storm), because so many will miss out on this moving drama. It’s not often Sunshine Coast audiences get the opportunity to experience something that falls outside of the farce or musical theatre genres and this is probably the best of its ilk you’ll see this year. (I guess we’ll see what else is in store at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree in Mudjimba on February 9thhave you booked yet?). It’s a strong ensemble with powerful performances from some of the Sunshine Coast’s best actors; its strength is as much in its silence as in any of its conversation.

 

Moments of unease are relished; the characters wait between lines, without slowing the pace of the play, masterfully stretching the uncomfortable silence into the undeniable reality of the nightmare that follows a tragedy, breathing, waiting, considering, and content to disperse further unease with a look, before moving on. This takes a certain degree of discipline and experience and while the impressive results don’t surprise me, I’m once again bemused to see that the SRT Way just works. I’ll leave that for Sam and Simon to explain in another post. Suffice to say, the casting, by Simon Denver, is superb.

 

A beautiful, sophisticated soundscape by Howard Tampling layers haunting arrangements for piano (Darren Heskes) and guitar (James Allen) of classic Australian songs, the sounds of the storm, and weather updates during the Category 4 cyclone, which wreaks havoc on the camp and contributes to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of popular safety officer, Gus (Sam Coward). It’s nice to see Brad Thomson back treading the boards after a too-long hiatus, and reunited with Job’s Right boys, Sam Coward and Brett Klease. Joined by Clayton Storey as Rube, David Breen as Chilli, and Jodi Bushby, the token female in camp, known semi-affectionately as Truckie, this lot come with language that may offend (though not as much as I’d expected!), and a moving story that they tell with care and a sense of responsibility.

 

Unexpectedly funny, you’ll find it’s extremely real – the people represented are tragedy-raw and hurting, and yet their Australian larrikinism comes through in crass jokes and deft humour for which your grandma would rap you over the knuckles but which you know is your only coping mechanism – and you’ll recognise that and enjoy the challenging repartee more than you think you could. But it’s a cautionary tale, almost a warning… I wonder if Sue Smith intended it that way. It seems this director did. But while there’s treasure to be found under their feet, no disruption is reason enough for the likes of these characters to call it quits, give up the gold and go home.

 
STRA poster-1

Whether our sensibilities want to accept it or not – we are officially into the Chinese Century! This country once rode on the back of the sheep – we are now the quarry of the world. The reality of this is quite simple…the vast oblivious suburban mass of Australia live on the fiscal crumbs from the mining table!

 

Hard truth – sad fact.

– Director, Simon Denver

 

10
Jan
13

Strange Attractor coming soon to Noosa

Strange Attractor
‘WHEN the next generation research how theatre represented the state of the Australian nation in the early part of the 21st century, this new play by Sue Smith will be the flagship text they’ll turn to.’
Nicholas Pickard, Sydney Morning Herald, 2009
 
From Sue Smith, the writer of Bastard Boys and Brides of Christ, comes Strange Attractor, a gripping, contemporary tale of free-will and responsibility in the face of great temptation.
 
It opens at Noosa Arts Theatre on 24 January for a strictly limited two week season.
 
With explosive characters and a witty sense of humour, Strange Attractor is a stunning portrait of small-team camaraderie at the furthest frontier of the mining boom.
 
 
Deep in Western Australia’s mining country, against the blood-red landscape of the Pilbara, a cyclone has wreaked havoc in a remote railway construction camp.
 
Now, a small team of employees anxiously await the arrival of ‘the company man’, sent up from Perth to carry out his own investigation before a coronial inquiry. Dog-tired and in search of drink, they do their best to distract themselves, coming together in a makeshift mess hall. But a stormy evening of shared memories soon takes a strange and unexpected turn.
 
Strange Attractor is a beautiful play. It won’t shock and won’t challenge but it will enthral you. It’s sad and it’s guilty, but the bleakness is brought to life very well and this attractor makes for great theatre!’
Adam Moussa, musicfeeds.com.au, 2009
 
Simon Denver is directing this joint production of Suncoast Repertory Theatre and Noosa Arts Theatre.
Simon is well known as an outstanding director and has chosen a very strong cast in Jodie Bushby, David Breen, Sam Coward, Brett Klease, Brad Thomson and Clayton Storey.
 
This play is not suitable for children under 18.
 
Performances:
Preview: January 24 at 7.30pm
Evenings: January 25, 26, 30, 31, February 1, 2 at 7.30pm. Matinee: January 27 at 2pm.
Strange Attractor