Left – Maeve Mhairi McGregor and Robert Maxwell
Despite the rather daunting title – Gruesome Playground Injuries – this is a cleverly written, witty play that deftly confronts the everyday thrust and parry of modern relationships. The writer, Pulitzer Prize nominee Rajiv Joseph, knows that the gruesome injuries we inflict on ourselves and others go far beyond the physical; it is our emotional injuries he has firmly in his sights. The play zigzags between moments of real pathos, laughter, the farther reaches of psychological motivation and plain old-fashioned gross-out slapstick.
At every moment we are in the sure hands of a masterful director, Ben Winspear, who guides and unites this fragmentary piece into a complex, beautifully detailed whole. He is brilliantly served by a cast who courageously run the gamut of every extraordinary demand placed on them and their complete commitment to every moment is the secret ingredient that engages us so fully.
Maeve Mhairi MacGregor shows a winning charm and vulnerability that she skilfully punctures with asides that have the audience roaring with laughter. Robert Maxwell gives his accident-prone character just the right amount of stupid to mask the depths of pain and self-doubt that he can later reveal to such tremendous effect.
It is a real joy to be in the hands of a director and performers who are prepared to give so fully and who have such a command of their craft.
They receive a very high standard of technical support from Greg Thompson (Lighting), Jacky Collier (sound and music) as well as Natalie Venatacci, Ellen Roe and Adam (Gus) Powers.
This production is perfectly expressive of the modern, boundary pushing nature of Dark Mofo and it is great to see the Theatrical Performing Arts so powerfully represented alongside this festival. Having suffered some gruesome injuries over the past 12 months, Tasmanian Theatre is alive and kicking this week and next at the Moonah Arts Centre. This is a must-see event!
Tasmanian Theatre Company presents
Gruesome Playground Injuries
by Rajiv Joseph
Director Ben Winspear
Venue: Moonah Arts Centre | 23-27 Albert Rd, Moonah TAS
Dates: 13 – 22 June 2019