Part of this year’s Midsumma Festival, Porcelain is a fascinating study which delves into the mind of an alleged killer.
Set in the UK, the story deals with a young Asian man, John Lee, (Keith Brockett) accused of murdering his white lover in a public toilet. Through a series of interviews with a psychologist (Colin MacPherson) and various flashback scenes, the audience is taken on a journey in an attempt to discover why this act took place.
What makes Porcelain so interesting is the fact that the central character, a gay Asian man, is not just the victim, but also the perpetrator. Issues of homophobia and racism are constantly explored in this 80-minute piece.
Director Beng Oh has staged the play with five actors seated on chairs facing the audience. In the confines of the intimate La Mama space, this works very well, with four of the actors constantly playing an assortment of characters and voices, creating an environment which forces the audience to listen to the text, rather than be distracted by too much movement. The simple yet effective design works well.
Keith Brockett (seen recently in ABC’s The Librarians) handles the difficult role of John Lee quite well, and brings much sensitivity to the role. Colin MacPherson, as the psychologist with some questionable ethics, and Leon Durr as the murdered lover, lend strong support.
One of the distracting things about this performance, however, is the lack of consistency with accents. Having the play clearly set in England, with local references and terms, it would have been even better with less ‘Australian’ voices.
Porcelain, by Singaporean playwright Chay Yew, remains an intriguing, fascinating play about cultural divisions, sexual politics and discrimination.
La Mama presents
by Chay Yew
Venue: La Mama | 205 Faraday St Carlton
Dates: Thurs Jan 24 – Sun Feb 10
Times: Wed/Fri/Sun 8.30 pm; Thurs/Sat 6.30pm
Tickets: $20 full / $10 conc.
Bookings: 03 9347 6142