Ride & Fourplay is a two play presentation of a couple of early works by Jane Bodie, a dynamic double feature directed by Anthony Skuse.
A little like Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Ride begins with a naked man and a naked woman in a crumpled bed.
It transpires that they have no recollection of how they ended up back in his bed, whether or not they have had sex, or where her bra and one shoe have disappeared to.
Over the next seventy minutes or so, they learn a little more about each other and piece together the puzzle of their collective amnesia by remembering other things from their individual past.
Ride is a pas de deux of revelation and concealment, a tango of entanglement, as Joe and Elizabeth scrabble with their accidental intimacy.
In a neat narrative turn, Bodie has the couple play a game of Scrabble, a nifty way of mixing physical action, teasing dialogue, character development and metaphor.
Bodie's delight in language is lustrous and Emma Palmer as Elizabeth and Tom O'Sullivan as Joe both add to the coruscation, a dazzling duet of relationship wariness and solitude weariness, two souls looking for solace, and finding some semblance in a waltz to Tom Waits.
Fourplay as the title suggests is a play with four characters – Alice, a care worker partnered to Tom, an actor, who is rehearsing a play with Natasha, and Jack, Alice's care worker co-worker.
Alice was once an actress but has found a more “stable” career in care giving.
The stability of Alice and Tom's relationship is under stress as he conducts “intense” rehearsals with Natasha, while Jack has a hidden hankering for Alice.
Emma Palmer and Tom O'Sullivan are back from from the first piece but inhabit quite distinctly, different characters.
Palmer's Natasha is a self assured vixen, completely at home with her body and a ferocious focus on her career while O'Sullivan's Tom, while committed to his craft is outflanked by Natasha's flirtation.
Gabrielle Scawthorn as Alice is effortlessly funny in a role that is far from comic; the inherent grace of the great tragedian, and Aaron Glenane has subtly sourced Jack's Aspergerish aspect and built a nicely nuanced character, keeping the creepy and unsettling aspect of his stalking within a kind of understanding.
As in his production of Constellations last year at The Eternity Playhouse, director Anthony Skuse, captivated by the building’s interior structure, has introduced an oblique plinth to cue the off kilter, cliff hanging emotional precipice of the plays.
Darlinghurst Theatre Company presents
Ride & Fourplay
by Jane Bodie
Director Anthony Skuse
Venue: Eternity Playhouse | 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst NSW
Dates: 9 September – 4 October 2015
Times: Tues - Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm, Sat Matinees: 26 September & 3 October, 3pm
Tickets: $45 – $30
Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com | 02 8356 9987