Image by Work Art Life Studios and Black Photography
Red Stitch’s Right Now is preposterous. The 75-minute play ricochets from one illogical moment to another equally as ludicrous. Yes, this play is a brilliant piece of absurd theatre.
Director Katy Maudlin has taken the script and milked the absurdity for all it is worth, ably supported by the ensemble cast.
Absurd philosophy is described as the conflict between the need to seek meaning in life and an ability to find it. Those who believe that they have found meaning are likely to find this play very absurd. Long after the play ends questions remain about reality versus fantasy.
Doubts about what is the truth creep in right from the moment the play begins. Only one thing is obvious – Christine O’Neill’s Alice spends far too much time alone in an empty flat.
Her husband Ben, played by Dushan Phillips, is clearly not sympathetic. Why? The scene is set for a wonderful entrance by Olga Makeeva as the neighbour Juliette. Makeeva is spectacular as the nosy neighbour. She commands the stage and the small flat with her natural ability for humour.
Makeeva’s Juliette skilfully engineers an invitation to dinner for herself, her son and husband. A few nights later an overwhelmed Alice tries to explain to her disapproving husband why three people are coming to dinner when clearly not wanted. A marital argument seems on the boil when the doorbell rings.
Here Maudlin’s skill as a director shines. The door opens. Three actors stand stock-still posed as cartoon-like cut-outs in the doorway. This use of stylised poses continues and is an hilarious highlight of an absolutely absurd dinner party.
Makeeva continues in fine form claiming centre stage, while Mark Wilson peps up the humour and absurdity with his performance as her son Francois. Joe Petruzzi is a convincing foil as the eccentric husband Gilles.
O’Neill and Phillips ably portray a young couple’s bemusement as their three guests take over the entire evening.
Right Now has been written by award-winning playwright Catherine-Anne Toupin and translated by Chris Campbell. The translation must have been no-mean-feat as the lines between fantasy and reality are very blurred in this tale and language so important.
Established in 2002 Red Stitch claims to be Australia’s leading actors’ ensemble performing contemporary Australian plays and award-winning new writing from around the world in an intimate venue in Windsor, Melbourne.
The company obviously has a loyal following as the opening night audience was warm, welcoming and friendly already prepped for full enjoyment. Nevertheless if Right Now is any indication it is no wonder the intimate theatre was packed.
Red Stitch Actors Theatre presents
by Catherine-Anne Toupin | translated by Chris Campbell
Director Katy Maudlin
Venue: Red Stitch Theatre | 2 Chapel Street, Windsor VIC
Dates: 17 April – 20 May 2018