Photo - Jon Green
Kate Mulvany’s play The Danger Age, presented by Deckchair Theatre, takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, switching from moments of sadness to tears of laughter.
The Danger Age is told through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy John Curtin who is living in Kalbarri during World War II.
In a case of mistaken identity President Roosevelt rings him believing he is talking to the Prime Minister of Australia. Following the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese, the US President outlines his strategy to defend Australia. An imaginary line is drawn across the country, everything south of Brisbane is defended - everything north is sacrificed.
Privy to this top secret information, John’s life is thrown into turmoil as he and his best friend, an Aboriginal girl named Albert, realise that the defence line runs right through the centre of Kalbarri and that their homes in the north will be bombed.
Director Sally Richardson has cast strong and talented actors to bring this well researched story to life.
Gibson Nolte playing John Curtin and Hayley McElhinney playing his half sister Glenys, do a remarkable job of depicting juveniles and their child-like innocence. Adding a naughty comic element Gleny’s sock puppet Trevor is far from innocent and always has a quick-witted, sometimes foul-mouthed response close at hand (pardon the pun).
Albert played by Irma Woods also delivers some lines that leave you wide-eyed in disbelief but twittering to yourself in amusement. I particularly liked her many ways of describing to John that his mother had loose morals!
On the other hand there are poignant moments too. Following a well-choreographed fight scene, innocent Japanese general practitioner Dr Matsudaira (Anthony Brandon Wong) is arrested by corrupt policeman (Damon Lockwood) and wrongfully taken into custody. Certainly I could feel my own guilt well up as John Curtin reproachfully addresses the audience asking why we did not intervene.
Shortly afterwards Wong gave a touching and tearful performance as he came to terms with losing his love Maisie (played by Samantha Murray) and his imminent return to Japan.
The use of music and lighting is well choreographed and the storyline is surprisingly meaty and well paced.
The venue, Victoria Hall in Fremantle is a gorgeous old building and has improved since my last visit, adding tiered seating to the auditorium. However the hall is cold, so make sure you rug up nice and warm and treat yourself to a hot beverage at half time.
Deckchair Theatre presents
THE DANGER AGE
by Kate Mulvany
Director Sally Richardson
Venue: Victoria Hall | 179 High Street, Fremantle WA
Dates: May 11 – May 29, 2010
Tickets: $40 adult, $35 concession, $20 previews
Bookings: www.deckchairtheatre.com.au | 08 9430 4771