A title can reveal much about a play. Apart from helping busy reviewers meet their required word count The Soldier and The Thief Wait on a Bridge Over the River Thames, While Oblivion Waves Hello, suggest a messy play. In watching it, it appears Oliver Torr has cobbled together scenes based around several of his hobby horses.
James (Stephen Peacocke) and Jean (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) are two young people trying to start careers in theatre and film. Their monologues take the form of emails sent across the globe. These are slotted throughout the play and delivered with spectacular dullness by the two actors leaning or sitting against a brick wall. This reminds us, just how much dribble the average person types in an email. Do people still actually use the word “yo”?
Feminist author, Janet Jackson, (Gertraud Ingeborg) prepares to send her latest manuscript to her agent. She entrusts it to her man-servant Diego (Ben Wood) and his blind brother, Gardener (Jamie Irvine). Diego discovers that Janet has taken the sex scene from his own under appreciated manuscript and transplanted it into her own. Diego’s post-revenge monologue, is delivered naked, blood soaked, and wearing an apron. A piece of theatre done, only for shock value.
Meanwhile, two American government agents, Hermes (Oliver Torr), and Bertrand, (Samantha Young) debate which country to nuke next. Unfortunately, Hermes is a little pre-occupied because his wife Stacey is about to have a sex change yet still wants to continue the marriage. Their inattentive boss (Peter Carmody) tells of troubles with his kidneys then suggests they bomb London as he had relationship problems there. This is a crude and clumsy comment on American self-absorption.
The soldier (Damien Freeleagus) and the thief (Dean Mason) turn up in the second half of the play. The soldier who is dedicated and patriotic holds the thief at gun point. He bashes both the thief and the long suffering audience, over the head with a monologue about how the thief has taken all and worked for nothing. Could thieving be a metaphor for the American Invasion of Iraq? Oblivion finally gets its curtain call in the form of flashing lights and a loud explosion
The actors try hard to have fun with the script although they sometimes seem to be talking too fast. The American accent of Ben Wood and the rough English accent of Dean Mason are superb and unfaltering.
When writing a review a critic should be aware that it takes months if not years to write a script yet only an hour or two to rip it to pieces. However, alerting audiences to potential turkeys is also part of the job. So be warned, this one gobbles. Stay home and check your email.
The Soldier and the Thief wait on a Bridge over the River Thames while Oblivion waves Hello
by Oliver Torr
Venue: The Old Fitzroy Theatre – Cnr Cathedral & Dowling Sts, Woolloomooloo
Dates: 19th Feb – 15th March 2008
Times: Tuesday – Saturday @ 8pm & Sunday @ 5pm
Tickets: $20 Concession, $28 Adult, $34 Beer, Laksa & Show
Special: Cheap Tuesdays - $16 Adult, $24 Beer Laksa & Show
Bookings: www.trstheatre.com.au or 1300 GET TIX (1300 438 849)