I took my seat at the Mechanics Institute of Performing Arts last night to find I was the only female audience member in the performance. I had an idea that this would be a performance for a specific crowd, and being the sole female only solidified my instincts. I thought this would be a niche performance with jokes and references that I probably wouldn’t relate to, and therefore I assumed this performance may not be my cup of tea. However, I am glad to say, I was wrong!
There is nothing I love better than being wrong because sometimes some things are so indoctrinated into your social consciousness that you forget you are wrong. It seems as though these inbuilt standards need a few confrontations to bring your black and white head back down to reality. This is exactly what The Boy on the Beach was for me, a pleasant confrontation.
Writer/Director, Steven Dawson, has written a very witty, intelligent and entertaining work with The Boy on the Beach. Adorned with a variety of personalities, and colourful situations, it was great to experience this unique little tale. I was surprised at his ability to make the audience laugh, call them on their “labelling,” draw them into more personal situations, and flip them out at crazier ones! However, despite being topical and fast-paced, there were moments when I thought the details of the show were all-in-all, too conveniently placed. Essentially, the plot was a little predictable and unsatisfying. The show begins with a future scenario, and the play works back up to that point. I felt the end was weak because of the dynamic beginning. I expected more explanation and tension around that key moment. But instead it just felt random and misplaced. Generally though, it was a very entertaining show.
The cast as a whole were fairly strong. However, both Nathan Butler and Lee Threadgold stole the show with their distinct characters. Butler is to be commended on his ability to tackle a very wordy script. He managed to make the dialogue sound effortless and natural. Threadgold, however,
demanded attention every time he graced the stage. His embodiment of a
jittery, nervous, and slightly crazy man was very comic, and kind of
creepy. It was hard not to cringe and wonder at the events that would
shape his character throughout. Both were very strong and maintained a
Felix Allsop, Adrian Corbett, and Anthony Jelinic, were no less competent, and complemented the strong characters around them. As an ensemble, these men were very cohesive.
The simple and effective
sets were perfect. The setting being a beach could have meant a series
of badly painted picturesque backdrops. It could have meant 10 tonnes
of sand on the stage and it could have meant stuffed seagulls hanging
from the ceiling. Steven Dawson is to be commended on his
simple selection. This made the show all the more professional and
elegant. The set enhanced the dialogue and eradicated a lot of
potentially distracting items.
Out Cast Theatre presents
The Boy On The Beach
by Steven Dawson
Venue: Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre | Cnr Sydney & Glenlyon Rds Brunswick
Dates: Jan 16 - Feb 16 (no show 26th Jan)
Times: Tues - Sat 8pm
Tickets: $28 Full $20 Conc. Groups 10+ $20 pp
Bookings: 9305 5333 or Hares & Hyenas