Left – Shaun Goss, Anna Samsonand Noni Hazlehurst. Photo – Jeff Busby
Debuting to sold out audiences at London's Royal Court in 2011, Richard Bean's temperature raising play The Heretic, has impressed both audiences and reviewers alike. Currently being produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), Bean's sharp script revolves around Dr Diane Cassell (Noni Hazelhurst) the skeptical scientist who discovers damming evidence regarding the heated climate change debate.
A woman of strong conviction and faith in science over emotion, Cassell is confronted by her irrational love for her anorexic daughter (Anna Samson), serving as proof that even the greatest cynics have a weakness for the unpredictability of love.
Joined by Andrew McFarlane as the bumbling professor and Shaun Goss as Cassell's student prodigy, both actors provided much needed comedic relief throughout the somewhat heavy-handed script.
Security Guard Geoff Tordoff (Lyall Brooks), was the standout performer, displaying a startling subtle comedic presence and turning off lights with reckless abandon.
Clearly playwright Bean's fifteen years spent as an Occupational Psychologist has influenced his current work. The Heretic looks into the subject of mental health and compares the emotional side of the psyche to the logical scientific mind. Bean exposes the two conflicting aspects of each character and points out the necessity of attending to both.
Unfortunately for The Heretic, nothing is ever particularly developed. Major plot points are left unresolved and the story at times borders on ridiculous. The final few minutes are perhaps the most disappointing as the audience is subjected to another cliche Hollywood ending, feeling somewhat cheated out of last 150 minutes of their life.
Each actor played their part flawlessly and the MTC has once again outdone themselves with effective sets and stunning lighting effects. The Heretic is an interesting and intelligent play only let down by its final saccharine moments.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
by Richard Bean
Venue: The MTC Theatre, Sumner
Dates: 12 May – 23 June, 2012
Duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)