Tucked away in the gothic surrounds of the Abbotsford Convent, Exhibit A Theatre has found yet another oddly fitting venue for their production. Having been fortunate enough to witness the magic of EIGHT earlier in the year, the young theatre company had set the bar (and my expectations) high for their latest piece.
SubUrbia was far from disappointing. The professionalism, storytelling and sheer talent of the actors on stage was as a high a calibre as any seasoned production company.
Part "Slackers", "Clerks" and "Mallrats" this '90s tribute delved into the psyche of the generation X era and revealed the deep rooted problems of the past decade that unfortunately have still yet to be dealt with.
Written by Eric Bogosian and made into a 1996 film of the same name, the play centres around Jeff (Matt Furlani), an aimless youth who spends his days (and nights) outside the local convenience store, drinking himself into a stupor with his fellow loiterers Tim (Daniel Mulvihill) and Buff (Tim Solly) causing grief to the Pakistani store owner (Shash Lall).
Waiting the imminent arrival of former school friend Pony (Benjamin Rigby), who since escaping the dreary surrounding of Burnfield has become a famous rock star, the characters express their envy, anger and awe for Pony, who so far has been the only character to have ambition and act upon it.
What entails over the course of an evening test the very barriers of human nature. All the very worst traits of humanity are exposed through these imperfect characters as they drink, smoke and eat themselves to an ever-impending early grave.
In what should be a depressing piece of art, the riveting characters of the no-so-distant-past are both repulsive and so completely flawed that you are torn between pity and fear due to their familiar traits. While the subject matter is often dark, the honesty in which it is portrayed and the commitment from the actors on stage make the performance addictive watching.
Exhibit A are a consistently impressive theatre company who produce the kind of performances you would expect from the MTC. It is difficult to believe that this is only Exhibit A's third professional performance, when they offer theatre of such an impressive nature.
Exhibit A Theatre is the company to watch. SubUrbia will tear your heart out and give it back to you still beating. Both gruesome and wonderful, SubUrbia is well worth the sub-zero temperatures the outside theatre courtyard imparts.
Exhibit A: Theatre presents
by Eric Bogosian
Directed by Adam Spellicy
Venue: EIGHT @ The Shadow Electric | Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford Vic
Dates: 28 November – 7 December, 2012
Tickets: $20 – $25