It plays like a true crime thriller. A family with a horrific past of violence, their lives forever changed by the actions of one man. To Shelby Boden, played by Jessica Stanley, this man unfortunately happens to be her father. The wannabe stand-up comedian engages in an unlikely friendship with Sylvia (Jem Nicholas) a performance artist with a penchant for writing to criminals who has become infatuated with Shelby’s incarcerated father, David Boden, played with eerie stillness by Andrew Blackman.
Sylvia has a certain Elle Woods quality about her, she’s so genuine in her affection for David and in everything she does, it’s impossible to dislike her, even if you do pity her. In the same way that Charles Manson had a following of women and Ted Bundy received fan mail, society seems to have an obsession with the morbid and the grotesque.
In the Australian premiere of the production by Ashley Rose Wellman, director Peter Blackburn delves into the fascination the media and society has with serial killers, their enigmatic power and charisma that seems to capture the world’s attention, even from behind bars.
You Are the Blood is a timely piece, the popularity of true crime podcasts has never been greater and it seems they are being churned out at unprecedented rate. You Are the Blood holds the tension of these acts of horrific violence. Blackman’s scenes are difficult to watch and he is unwavering in his cruelty masked by a veil of normality.
However, where there is darkness, there is inevitably light and the comic moments within the production allow for a moment’s reprieve. Joined by James Cerché as Ben, the millennial brother trapped under the swaddle of his mother’s overprotectiveness, (played by Vivienne Powell) the family unit of the Boden’s (sans David) is very familiar.
You Are the Blood is a stark look at the celebrity of the notorious, from Bonnie and Clyde to Ivan Milat, and is capitalising on the resurgence of the serial killer as media fodder. It has some genuine, heartfelt moments, contradicted by a lot of uneasy and uncomfortable subject matter and while the play itself isn’t particularly profound or ground-breaking, there are some excellent performances by the talented ensemble.
Spinning Plates Co. presents
You Are the Blood
by Ashley Rose Wellman
Director Peter Blackburn
Venue: Meat Market Stables | 3 Blackwood Street North Melbourne VIC
Dates: 12– 26 July 2019
Tickets: $25 – $30