DNA | WA Youth Theatre CompanyThe first of numerous “impact moments” came for me as I walked through the doors. I’ve been to the studio at Subiaco Arts Centre on many occasions, yet I’ve never faced the large windows with the black curtains thrown open so the headlights of the cars whizzing past behind the trees could form part of the backdrop. My eye was then drawn to the complexity of the multi textural set which had both natural and manmade characteristics. Some of the cast were already on stage and others waiting in the exposed “wings”, elements to signify that this was not going to be a “cookie cutter” theatrical experience.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is described as “a poignant and witty tale with a VERY, VERY dark heart...... full of suspenseful moments as a group of friends struggle together to keep a fatal accident under wraps.” Dennis Kelly’s script wastes no time with exposition and throws us into the drama head first. In the young peoples’ search for protection from their crime, leaders emerge, lies become convoluted and the clean up measures become increasingly desperate.

Director, Renato Fabretti used his wealth of experience, talent and creativity to ensure that the audience, who surrounded the stage on three sides, were drawn into the macabre but chillingly realistic storyline. A quick Wikipedia search on Dennis Kelly afterwards revealed to me that he encourages companies that present his work to be flexible with their casting and interpretation. He insists that they adapt his script to best tell the story their way. I can't say whether they adapted the characters from the original to suit their talent or not, but WAYTCo. has produced a play that is both shocking and funny, but mostly captivating.

The young cast, consisting mostly of recent high school graduates was expertly chosen and each actor showed intense commitment to their character’s pivotal moments. Although there were some magical examples of social interaction and gripping storytelling, I could not pick a stand out performance because every role, regardless of size, was worn with complete sincerity. Not only did each cast member shine individually, but the synergy was electric when they were all on stage together. Each character’s gaze, stance or interjection contributed to intensify the power of the main action.

The underlying soundscape was atmospheric and, together with lighting cues, contributed to our sense of passing time, which was occasionally obscure but the dialogue usually went on to indicate at what point we were in relation to the crime.

The opening night performance of DNA was sold out and I would expect that the calibre of this production will generate many more satisfied audiences before it closes on May 22nd.

The Western Australian Youth Theatre Company and This One Show present
by Dennis Kelly

Directed by Renato Fabretti

Venue: Subiaco Theatre Centre
Dates: 12 - 22 May 2010
Matinees: 13 May(1pm) and 19 & 21 May (10.30am)
Tickets: $15 - $20
Bookings: BOCS 9484 1133

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