The Sound and the Fury | Elevator Repair ServicePhotos - Joan Marcus

No doubt exists as to where this play is located. The deep South of the United States Of America is steeped in the set, accents, sounds, characters and general ambience.

The Sound and the Fury excels in portraying a southern family, warts and all, but it is a discordant sound, one that is hard to follow. Even with surtitles outlining the plot, this play is incomprehensible unless perhaps you have already read the novel?

The Sound and the Fury is based on the eponymous novel by William Faulkner, who himself is quoted as calling the novel “a real son of a bitch”.

Elevator Repair Service has taken a complicated novel, complex characters and added further complications by having the actors constantly switch roles. The end result is somewhat like watching a speeded-up square dance with oddball characters constantly changing costumes and partners.

Perhaps this is to emphasise the fact that this family is speaking but not communicating. If so the experiment has failed, because the play itself speaks but does not communicate.

This play is told from the point of view of Benjamin Compson, a handicapped and child-like 33 year old. This is based on the first part of the novel, April 7, 1928 and is highly disjointed, adding further to the confusion.

Susie Sokol is the first Benjy and fails to really engage. It is a tough role, and yet central to the play. Aaron Landsman who later plays Benjy is more believable and portrays more emotion. Likewise Annie McNamara is not convincing at portraying the manipulative mother, Caroline. Her Caroline is whiny and irritating, whereas Vin Knight and Creig Sargeant instill much more of the power and control that can be executed by such moaning despots.

Moments of brilliance do shine from this production and cast as director John Collins does his best to make the most of this challenging work. Several of the ensemble shine in their various roles, David Zinn’s scenic design is memorable and Matt Tierney’s sound design is inspired and integral.

However, overall this traveling troupe has come dangerously close to producing a show that has plenty of static but is hard to tune into.

2010 Adelaide Festival presents
The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928)
Elevator Repair Service

Director John Collins

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
Dates/Times: 11, 12 March 7.30pm, 13 March 2.00pm & 7.30pm, 14 March 6.00pm
Tickets: Adult $79 Friends $67 Conc $59 Fringe Benefits $25
Bookings: BASS 131 246 |

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