“We’re your punishment. And your ours”
Play defining words from a mother looking on with baffled despair at an unapologetic son accused of defacing a mosque.
From one of Australia’s most acclaimed playwrights, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre's description of Joanna Murray-Smiths’ Fury as, ‘a scintillating, often hilarious and profoundly provocative work,’ feels somewhat understated for failing to mention “Seat flinching discomfort.”
Parent against Parent against Teacher against Mother against Father against Child and all possible combinations against social expectations of class and decency, Fury leaves us like a troubled jury playing witness to unsettling clashes of unfolding revelation. With exploration of conscience and propaganda, this is a sharply observed, clever and disturbing drama.
Deftly staged on Chloe Greaves well pitched design, directing duo Brett Cousins & Ella Caldwell have pushed their cast to ensure the pulse of Fury never falls below rapid.
Joe Petruzzi and Danielle Carter are well cast to hover between love and contempt. Scratching at themselves and each other to source blame, we see a well-connected portrait of a marriage traversing self-interest and the magnitude of legacy.
Feeling at times like callers trapped in the echo chamber of talkback radio, Chris Connelly and Shayne Francis deliver insightful alternate commentary and social contrast as parents to an accomplice vandal. As Alice, Shayne Francis is standout. Deadpan funny, subtle and stinging, this is a measured performance worthy of note.
As a voice of occasional reason, Dushan Philips provides bitterly amusing indifference and philosophical balance as a knowing teacher in a biased and distorted system.
Sadly, the near daily occurrence of US School Shootings makes the role of Joe in this play seem alarmingly familiar. Perfectly landing this complex character, Sean Rees-Wemyss combines knowing menace with youthful naivety. Sean’s capacity to intelligently deliver uncomfortable hate speech is testimony indeed to the sophisticated choices made by this talented young actor. A disturbing and mesmerizing performance!
Credit in abundance also to The Sweats for a present and powerful soundscape that amplifies tensions throughout by seemingly hovering on the brink of actual ignition.
Questioning the integrity of the ubiquitous sword falling apology for an increasingly easy to offend society, Fury has as its device, an intelligent, articulate and privileged teenage vandal. At a time when a few ill-chosen words can pulverize a career and irrespective of buoyancy, you probably are a witch – this is an extraordinary play that Red Stich could not have timed better.
Red Stitch Actors Theatre presents
by Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Brett Cousins & Ella Caldwell
Venue: Red Stitch | Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda East Vic
Dates: 29 May – 1 July 2018
Tickets: $55 – $28