Left - Akos Armont. Cover - Akos Armont & Eamon Farren. Photos - Olivia Martin-McGuire
Often the cruellest reaction to those around you is to live totally for yourself. The Kid is a character study of Dean (Akos Armont), a bisexual teenager who takes advantage of everyone, often for sexual pleasure, as events in his life spiral apocalyptically out of control. Dean feels the weight of many responsibilities as he drives down to Sydney with his sister Snake (Emma Palmer) to seek financial compensation for their brain injured brother Aspro (Andrew Ryan). This is Michael Gow’s first play. Twenty five years later it is now getting a rerun by Griffin.
Early on in the play we encounter Mark Plegler playing a book shop owner who writes and sells obscure books about convict mythology and local history. The character is clearly a comment on the national navel gazing of the period, and you get the feeling we Aussies have grown up a little since then. Likewise, the homosexual advances by Dean on Donald (Eamon Farren) do not shock as they would have in the early eighties.
The play picks up momentum as the siblings arrive in Sydney and sweet talk a kindly woman (Kelly Butler) into giving them an apartment. The flats also house the play’s most disturbing character, Desiree (Yael Stone), a young woman who’s found her calling delivering messages of Armageddon.
The productions’ strongest feature is the tension that builds to disturbing intensity within the scenes. This is often done with one character talking in brief uncertain grabs only to be greeted with silence. Mark Plegler gives a chilling performance as Desiree’s father who stands silently in a sweat soaked singlet and shorts while Dean tries to untie Desiree from the chair he has bound her to.
Ultimately Dean, fails to meet the challenges presented to him. He could have rescued Desiree but just wanted her for sex. By the end of the play, he slouches in his beanbag and pops pills.
As usual at Griffin, the staging is superb. Blazing lights depict Sydney’s apartments as surreal places of danger. The soundtrack is also suitably disturbed but could have benefited from a few sounds of Australiana to help set the scene early in the play. Both sound and lighting, resemble similar techniques used at Griffin last year on October and Mercury Fur. While it is good for a theatre venue to have its own production style, you don’t want things to look too generic.
Although the script feels very disjointed, this play is worth a look for the disturbing tension it creates. Be warned: this is definitely not the play to restore your faith in humanity.
Griffin Theatre Company presents
by Michael Gow
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011
Previews: 14, 15, 17 & 18 March Premiere: 19 & 20 March
Season: 22 March – 26 April
Times: Monday at 6:30pm. Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm. Saturday Matinee at 2pm
Prices: Full $43. Snr $36. Preview/Matinee/Conc. $32. Group 8+ $35. Under 30 $25 (Tues – Thurs only)
Bookings: MCA TIX 1300 306 776 or online at www.griffintheatre.com.au