‘Moving On Inc.’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by June 23, 2016

‘Moving On Inc.’ is a one-act play, written by award winning playwright and actor, Mikala Westall. The play is presented by The Perth Theatre Trust and Lost Boys Theatre, as part of the Subiaco Independent Theatre Festival 2016.

This tightly written, cleverly structured, 55-minute play can be seen Studio Theatre at the Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road, Subiaco each evening at 7.30 until Saturday 25th June.

 

The set shows several roadside shrines, shaded by overhanging branches. Memorials set up by the families and friends for their recently departed. The tree stumps are surrounded by a collection of their friend’s personal treasures, varying from religious statues to fun junk.

The scene is completed with Joe Lui’s incredible lighting and soundscape. The tech operator is Jarrod (?) who applied one of the slowest and most subtle light changes I have seen – great work.

 

      A young couple are laughing and joking as they drive along a remote Australian country road. Suddenly, their car runs off the road and into a tree. Luckily, they are not injured, but their car is in a sorry state. Even when they realise that they are stuck in the middle of nowhere, the young girl, Abby (Amy Johnston) just chuckles nervously at having avoided death; and asks her angry boyfriend, Sam (Barnaby Pollock) what the Hell had made him run off the road.

     As Sam explains, unconvincingly, how he thought he had seen someone and had swerved to avoid hitting her, a dishevelled old woman steps out of the forest. She introduces herself as Ruth (Nicola Bartlett) and starts chatting to Abby. She asks what Abby does for a living, and discovers that she works for a company called ‘Moving On Inc.’ that carries out house clearances for the traumatised families of recently deceased. Abby chuckles as she explains how many unusual treasures she seems to gather.

      After a while, Ruth says she can get the couple’s car repaired, if they can do her a favour in return. A rather demanding favour!

 

There are plenty of laughs in this creepy and haunting play, as it grabs your attention and keeps you in its grip throughout. The three, very different characters are beautifully portrayed by the cast. Amy Johnston, who is in her first major professional production, played Abby; WAAPA graduate, Barnaby Pollock, accompanies her. Nicola Bartlett, who has been much admired for decades as one of WA’s finest actors, gives a superb performance as Ruth.

Directed by Mikala Westall and dramaturged by Will O’Mahony, the body language and chemistry flow naturally in this most enjoyable piece.

This production oozes quality in every department. Many congratulations to all concerned.