‘Confessions of a Pyromaniac’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by July 13, 2014

‘Confessions of a Pyromaniac’ was written by young Aboriginal playwright, Matt Cooper, especially for the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. This Imprint Production is sponsored by Next Step Training Programme in conjunction with Woodside.

The 70-minute performances can be seen at the Blue Room Main Theatre, 53 James Street, Northbridge nightly at 7.00 pm until 19th July.

The set is the front balcony of an old house in Sydney. Designer Patrick Howe has incorporated a corrugated roof of plastic sheeting. This has allowed lighting designer, Joe Lui, to create mysterious shadows and some very dramatic effects. With all of the chairs and plants that one accumulates, the overall result is very convincing.

 

        On the balcony is a young man, Max (Mathew Cooper) seated at a table busy typing. He is writing his latest fantasy novel for teenagers; he rises to enact his latest script dialogue just as his young wife, Sarah (Katya Shevtsov) returns home from work. With her is their lodger, TAFE photography student, David (Calen Tassone), the threesome join in some fun bringing Max’s page to life.

        Unseen to the group, a young woman turns up at the house. She is Chris (Stephanie Somerville), Max’s wayward sister. She has just arrived by plane from Perth. For years she has lived with their alcoholic father, but now that he has died, she has turned to the only other person in her life, her brother.

        Is Max pleased to see her? Not really, especially as she wants somewhere to stay!

 

This kitchen-sink play has some excellent, well written dialogue, brought powerfully to life by the cast. Under the direction of Shakara Walley the cast have captured their characters perfectly. The production oozes quality, however I felt that this is a good framework for a full length play, and I encourage the writer to go further to develop the sibling’s youth and family life.

The play has a few laughs and many cringes as the visitor from hell moves in.