Realism | WAAPAScottish comedy adapted to contemporary Perth delivers surreal theatre in the round

Liam wants to spend a lazy Sunday getting on with mundane house tasks and having some time to himself. However his most trivial actions trigger vivid thoughts, memories and fantasies, in the vein of an underachieving, socially self-conscious Walter Mitty. From an impromptu song and dance routine by the Black and White Minstrels to a series of lectures from his mother to a creepily specific death and funeral scenario for himself, his planned easy-going day instead sees him lurching through a variety of soul-searching situations, questioning his relationships with his parents, ex-girlfriends, friends and his place in society. Is he indeed racist, sexist, intolerant of difference? Or is he overly sensitive to possible points of contention? In any case, his empty flat is full of the presence of many significant figures in his life, past and present, as well as his own, constantly examined and challenged, points of view.

Taking writer Anthony Neilson’s invitation to adapt the names of the characters to those of the actors, to change the accents from the written Scots / London of his original script to local language patterns and topical and geographical references, director Anthony Skuse has done us all a favour, allowing the audience to focus on the unfolding chaos of Liam’s imagination rather than the authenticity or otherwise of dialect from the other side of the world. Liam Maguire displayed impressive stamina, emoting in all directions for a solid 90 minutes, and interacting appropriately with other characters. Playing his first sweetheart, Harriet Davies impressed with her singing voice as she lightly warbled classical pieces while lounging around the set. She also displayed impressive nonchalance in sex scenes on the toilet, both with her boyfriend and then a fantasy sequence with Kirsty Marillier, playing Liam’s recently lost love. Alexis Lane popped her head out of the washing machine in one of several startling scenes in which she played Liam’s mother, and Ben Kindon was solid in several roles including Liam’s emotionally distant father. Alexander Frank was certainly exuberant and energetic in the role of Alfie, even though I couldn’t quite place his character’s role in Liam’s life. Adam Sollis played several roles, but stole the stage in a hilarious turn as Galloway the cat.

Presenting useful sightlines from all angles, Sarah Duyvestyn’s set design impressed with the smoothness with which components were introduced and removed with minimal disruption, and the inspired use of a leaf blower as part of the action/set change was truly memorable.

An entertaining piece of theatre that examines the crises of the everyday, before returning Liam and the audience back to workaday routine and unquestioning habit, Realism allows WAAPA’s students to explore their dramatic potential.

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts presents
by Anthony Neilson

Director Anthony Skuse
Performed by 3rd Year Acting students

Venue: Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Mount Lawley
Dates: 13 – 19 June 2014
Bookings: 9370 6895

Strictly 18 years and over

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