Dom is teetering on the verge of becoming a teenager. However, his dad has died in an aeroplane crash, leaving Dom to look after his mother, who is losing her mind. Seeking solace in his LEGO, Dom runs away from home, staying in an abandoned building where he is joined by some mysterious companions. After a night of conversations about life and love, with a series of games to bargain for the return of his father, Dom returns home to care for his mother with new insight into himself and the world around him.
A Summer Nights production, part of FringeWorld, Death Stole My Dad makes do with a sparse set and simple lighting to convey a complex narrative. Each role has its own challenges, with a talented cast making the most of the many limitations imposed upon them. Jordan Holloway manages to create a disillusioned and surly boy, angrily reacting to his difficulties and ready to lash out at any target, succeeding not only in making him believable at each stage in the process of growing in understanding, but also in making the audience care about his fate. From the posture to the sullen delivery of dialogue, he makes the character natural and bratty and self-obsessed while allowing the inner caring, loving son to flicker through. Challenging in a very different way is Daley King’s role as The Shadow. As the show’s designer, he would have been aware of the limitations of the black morph suit, but King has the physical control to bring a distinct character to the stage without any of the benefits of speech or facial expression. Sam Stopforth gets to play his guitar to provide the main soundscape for the production, and uses the melodic changes, repeated loss of concentration and repeated dialogue to subtly and gently depict a young man’s slide into dementia. Violette Ayad has the wordiest part, needing to provide explanation and context for so many mysteries. While her role could well be played as brashly irritating, she holds back enough to allow space for the other characters to develop and reveal their own further dimensions.
On one hand Death Stole My Dad could be seen as poorly served by its inclusion in FringeWorld, the script demanding a longer running time and reflective space afterwards for the audience to consider all of its implications. On the other hand it is a celebration of how far FringeWorld has come in a short 5 years that such a thought-provoking piece of theatre can fit into its programming and draw punters ready to take on the challenge. Either way, it deserves an expanded format and wider audience in future.
The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights and Chaos Ensemble present
Death Stole My Dad
Devised and Performed by Violette Ayad, Jordan Holloway, Daley King and Sam Stopforth
Directed by Daley King
Venue: The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre
Dates: 23 – 25 January 2015
Part of Perth Fringe World 2015