OctoberTim (Christopher Stollery) and Angela are a decent and successful middle class couple cocooned in the trappings of their beauty, wealth and class. The complacency of their lives is punctured by a presumably mad and scruffy young stranger, Dez, played with edgy intensity by Ed Wightman. Dez arrives at their home claiming to have had an affair with the coolly inscrutable Angela (Simone McAullay), and demanding acknowledgement.

They hire a private detective, Dick, skillfully played by Simon Burke, to track him down so they can have him committed. However their initial compassion is overturned by their need for self preservation as the intruder’s stalking escalates and becomes genuinely threatening.

Simon Burke gives an hilarious performance as the “fix it guy” who at first appears unable to solve anything. It quickly becomes clear that this sleazy and odiously comic character is distinctly malevolent. Yet Tim and Angela have put their trust in this man who doesn’t share their values and who is clearly not trustworthy. “I am the closest thing you have got to safety” says the detective.

Julian Meyrick’s production cleverly pitches elements of the thriller against dark comedy. He creates a clever interplay between the intimidating threat of the stalker against the eccentric menace of the detective and effectively shapes the dramatic tension right through to the very sobering end.

Wilding is careful to keep the audience guessing and their sympathies swinging by making the situation unsettlingly ambiguous.

With its post September 11 resonances, Wilding explores a number of moral questions regarding the flimsiness of our culture’s ethics. When, at the end of his tether, Tim says: “our feelings and experience [are] in conflict with our ideology”. Wilding asks to what extent are decent people prepared to ignore their values when under threat and, worse, what real values do these people have beyond their platitudes?

Stollery’s Tim is a pompous old private school boy who is at his most vulnerable and out of his depth. While he is often the subject of ridicule by the writer, Stollery nevertheless does a great job of playing it strictly for the truth of the character. Once your life has been invaded is it possible, no matter the outcome, of anything ever being the same again? It is through his character that the audience is left to ponder on the long term ramifications of such an experience.

This is yet another very strong, entertaining and thought provoking work by Wilding who has previously won the Griffin Award in both 2000 and 2005. Highly recommended.

Griffin Theatre Company presents the world premiere of
by Ian Wilding

Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011
Previews: 20, 21, 23 and 24 April
Premiere: 26 April
Dates: 27 April – 26 May 2007
Times: Monday at 6:30pm. Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm. Saturday Matinee at 2pm
Tickets: Full $42. Snr $35. Preview/Matinee/Conc. $32. Group 8+ $32. Under 30 $25; Monday Pay-What-You-Can performances are sponsored by City Of Sydney (min $10)
Bookings: 1300 306 776 or online at www.griffintheatre.com.au

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