Left - Caroline Mignone. Cover - Lizzy Falkland, Brant Eustice, Caroline Mignone, Kim Gyngell. Photos - Matt Nettheim
For a dramatic display of classic miscommunication, self interest and self righteousness from the acerbic and perceptive pen of Yasmina Reza, go and see God of Carnage.
Within the first few minutes of sweet reasonableness between two pairs of apparently mature and concerned parents, some hints of tension are delicately displayed with taste and an abundance of niceness. They are discussing with grown-up and adult calmness the fact that one pair’s child whacked the other pair’s child with a stick and broke his front teeth: not something that either couple is likely to be actually and truly calm about, especially given the bourgeois expectations of polite society, an element of parental concern and guilt, and the proclivities of these particular individuals.
So the pleasantness gradually festers into a childish screaming match with a virtually predictable dance of alliances – the men; the women; him and her; her and him; us and them...
The gradual crescendo is masterfully managed and choreographed by a quartet of seasoned and intelligent actors: Brant Eustice, Lizzy Falkland, Kim Gyngell and Caroline Mignone, all equally comfortable and convincing in their roles and all equally able to manage the rise and fall of the growing conflict and the stripping away of egos and pretences. Clear echoes of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” rang around the stage as the bile flowed (literally and figuratively).
Directed by Michael Hill, this production makes the most of the humour in the situation, the interactions and the lines, all of which provide plenty of grounds for a good laugh, while at the same time giving cause for a slight squirm at the inevitable identification with how might it have been if that were me!
State Theatre Company of SA presents
GOD OF CARNAGE
by Yasmina Reza | translated by Christopher Hampton
Director Michael Hill
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Dates: 17 September – 10 October 2010