Closer | Milestone Theatre

CloserLeft - Miley Tunnecliffe. Cover - Nick Britton and Mia Martin

Patrick Marber’s Closer
is a story of love and loss and the meaning of relationships. Four characters intertwined in contemporary London. This production by Milestone Theatre is a powerful, emotive interpretation. 

Directed superbly by Igor Sas, I thought it was a tight production (although a few more runs will help), and packed emotional punch(es). There were a few of those wonderful silences where you just know everyone is holding their breath.

Interestingly, I don’t think any of the characters were very likable, which I found puzzling because I enjoyed the show so much. There is Alice the stripper who is full of lies. Larry the Doctor, complete with white coat, who I found to be overly sleazy. Dan with pathetic brooding eyes, lost in himself with a distinct lack of personality (character driven, rather than actor).  And Anna the photographer, who I didn’t connect with at all. 

Strong performances from all. Mia Martin (Anna) was very studied with marvelously emotive facial expressions. A gutsy performance from Miley Tunnecliffe (Alice) although I found her whiny fake accent incredibly annoying. Nick Britton as Dan created a realistic portrayal of someone who doesn’t believe in himself.

The strongest performance was from Peter Clark, who managed to get the intensity of anger just right. His character was completely sex crazed and provided some of the funnier lines in the play.

The play does have some very funny moments and witty, intelligent lines (if only we could all speak like that). But it raises perpetual questions - what’s the difference between sex and love? Why do we fall in love? Where is the border between love, infatuation, and crazed stalking / possessing?  The play is also about selfishness, and wanting what you can’t have, and who you hurt if you take what you want.  As Alice asks; “Why isn't love enough?”   

A simple set using three stage levels, creating well defined areas. I could tell it was a production with little budget with mismatching furniture, little props, and only a few costume changes. A screen hung centre stage provided AV elements. Very simple lighting from Steve Warren, which was adequate, but could have been tighter – I’m not a fan of soft focus edges that bleed into other areas.

I thought the scene changes would drag, but found them to be good pause points between the weighty dialogue. Some original music may have worked better rather than well known tunes. Speaking of music, I found the dance music from the neighboring club slightly off putting in the quieter scenes.

There was a hilarious scene that made brilliant use of the AV technology. Larry and Dan were talking online in a chat room, with the computer screen projected for the audience. With such a good beginning to the technology, I was disappointed in the rest of the AV – it could have been used more effectively, and to enhance the lighting.

One of my measures of a plays impact is how long I think about it afterwards. I’m still thinking about it a day later.  It had emotional weight and raised fascinating questions. A laudable effort from Milestone Theatre.


Milestone Theatre presents
Closer
by Patrick Marber

Venue: Rechabites Hall, Northbridge
Dates: May 22 to June 2
Times: Tues - Sat @ 8pm; Mon 28 May @ 6.30pm
Bookings: BOCS 94841133 or www.bocsticketing.com.au

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