Left – Emily Goddard, Sebastian Lamour and Felix Berger-O’Neil. Cover – Sebastian Lamour and Matt Furlani. Photos – Jeff Busby
When Director Peter Houghton, described the MTC’s latest offering, The Boy at the Edge of Everything as “part odyssey, part science-fiction and ALL comedy” he nailed it.
The play is about a ridiculously over-scheduled and overwhelmed 12 yo boy, Simon Ives, who wishes he had some space or rather was in space – just so he could find a minute for himself. Meanwhile, another boy sits alone, anxious and neurotic in the intergalactic quiet, wishing for “someone to need him to do something, to be somewhere.” Opposite lives on opposite sides of the cosmos. And then one day, through incredible circumstances (and the magic of theatre) they meet.
Penned by Tasmanian based, internationally acclaimed playwright, Finegan Kruckemeyer, the work was originally commissioned by Trusty Sidekick Theatre Company and Seattle Children’s Theatre Company, (in New York and Washington, respectively) and received rave reviews. Kruckemeyer is “committed to making strong and respectful work for children,” and aims to take the audience on an emotional journey. I believe he succeeded.
As has Houghton & his creative team, Andrew Bailey (set & costume design), Lisa Mibus (lighting) and J David Franzke (composer & sound design). Through their collaborative efforts they’ve beautifully realised Kruckemeyer’s text. From the simple yet deceptively clever sets, to the lighting and to a greater extent, the sound (which in itself feels like another character), it all manages to effectively convey those feelings of intimacy, space, solitude, longing and togetherness.
There’s a real heart and sensitivity to this story, with its attention to detail and gestures symbolising layers of meaning throughout. And a subtlety and wit to the naturalistic dialogue. And a fart joke too.
The cast comprising of Emily Goddard, Sebastian Lamour, Matt Furlani and Felix Berger-O’Neil were all extremely impressive with their characterisations and totally convincing as 12 and 8 year olds; and with the exception of Lamour (in the single role of Simon), the remaining ensemble should be lauded for their seamless transitions when alternating between characters.
The pacing of the dialogue and comic timing is essential to the insights and rhythm of the humour. With one scene involving Simon pronouncing the word “earth” and the Boy at the Edge of Everything trying to imitate him (repeatedly) scoring big laughs.
And isn’t it deliciously ironic, that Simon gets hurtled through space in his parent’s floatation tank? The very product purely invented to induce relaxation and revitalise one, is instead, discarded in the garden shed.
While other scenes are poignant – the way Mum’s physical and mental demise is portrayed with her vacant stare, the mad hair and the answering machine recordings.
What we saw in 75 minutes was ‘our world’ accurately depicted without romanticism or criticism and with characters that are startling familiar. They deserved our attention and affection, and got it.
It had the audience, children and adults alike, enthralled from start to finish.
And we laughed – because we recognised these people – we recognised ourselves.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
The Boy at the Edge of Everything
by Finegan Kruckemeyer
Director Peter Houghton
Venue: Southbank Theatre, The Lawler
Dates: 23 September – 9 October 2015
Tickets: From $35
Bookings: 03 8688 0800 | mtc.com.au