‘Belated’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by May 11, 2016

‘Belated’ is a courageous piece of immaculately structured drama, the debut of playwright Liz Newell; who has just finished her spell as a member of the Black Swan Emerging Writers’ Group . It is also the first show from Perth’s newest theatre group, the ‘Maiden Voyage Theatre Company’, whose aim – other than quality, fresh and exciting theatre – is to strive for gender equity and inclusivity for actors and crew.

This fast moving, 75-minute show about confrontation, is in the main Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Northbridge and runs nightly at 7.00 until 28th May.

 

The opening scene is the sitting room of a comfortable flat, with coffee table and settee, all in cream / white. The walls are covered with numerous, small artworks.

The three units forming the walls are rotated, and we find ourselves in a down market, somewhat sleazy pub. A clever and innovative set from WAAPA trained, Tessa Darcey and stage managed by Georgia Smith.

Joe Lui’s powerful and dramatic soundscape is taken to a new level with the stunning; electro-soul music is by Fremantle’s ‘St. South’, the work of instrumentalist and haunting vocalist Olivia Gavranich. Olivia has also composed for TV dramas.

      Quiet and easy going Max (Peter Lane Townsend) and his warm, healthy living, girlfriend, Norah (Maja Liwszyc) are having a relaxing night at home when an old, childhood friend of Max’s arrives. She is Blythe (Emily Kennedy) tense, stroppy and begging for an argument. She has recently broken up with her long-term partner and is looking for support and guidance – but is unlikely to accept it.

     The scene changes to the local pub, where barmaid Blythe is cleaning up for the night, before setting off home. At the last minute, a middle-aged man, Dean (Benj D’Addario) comes in wanting a drink – and perhaps a bit of female company, unaware that Blythe is more interested in girls. Even so, Dean will play a major part in her future life.

 

The much-admired director, Emily McLean, has worked several times at the Blue Room and for the Black Swan State Theatre Company, always giving us a play to remember. She is a dedicated director, carefully considering every aspect of her productions. Emily has selected a very capable cast, from the highly experienced Benj to the relative newcomer, Peter.

Emily Kennedy gives an amazing performance, filled with emotion ranging from heartbreak to raging anger and guilt.

This is a cleverly written play, with the action taking place on several ‘levels’. The strong, well-focused performances gave justice to this excellent play. Highly recommended to those that appreciate quality.