‘A Work of Genius’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by August 3, 2016

‘A Work of Genius’ is a new production, devised by theatre students Taylor Burtenshaw, Eloise Carter, Paris Fields, Tristan McInnes and Frazer Shepherdson; being overseen by Kathryn Osborne, a talented Perth director, producer and theatre maker. Kathryn is a founding member of the creative group, ‘The Last Great Hunt’. Here Katt has shown the theatre students how to get the most from their devised piece.

Katt has also assisted the artistic directors of The Malthouse, Perth Theatre Company and now The Hayman Theatre Company team.

This devised piece can be seen at The Hayman Theatre Upstairs, in building 102, Curtin University off Kent Street, Bentley. Park in car park B13 (free).

The 75-minute performances begin at the earlier time of 7.00 each evening until Saturday 6th August.

 

The set comprises five wooden lockers in a sports changing room. The lockers are multifunctional, acting as storage, changing rooms and even entrances to the room. A creative set design from Rhiannon Walker and Anna Lindstedt, who, with Bianca Roose and Eloise Carter were also responsible for the costume design.

 

     As the stage lights rise, we find a group of five sports enthusiasts exercising. They are dedicated sports people, passionate and jealous. We hear from each of them, their aims in life. For one it is to see his daughter succeed in the Olympics, so he becomes overprotective and yet brutally demanding. The others believe in healthy food, focusing the brain, and putting your heart into the ambition. Some are determined, others insecure.

    Soon the bitchiness begins, stubbornness abounds; even during Pilates and personal training the completion is fierce. Then there is the unmentioned drug scene and gene testing.

 

Brett Smith’s sound design was excellent, with plenty of variety and quality production, smoothly operated by Jack Wilson. Karen Cook’s lighting was ingenious and showed the skills involved for perfect use of barn doors and how light can be used to full dramatic effect. Slick lighting operation by Maddy Mullins.

Adeptly directed by Kathryn Osborne, with dramaturg assistance from Declan Brown, the standard of acting was very high, with each cast member capturing his or her numerous characters instantly and convincingly. There was humour, tears, drama and rehearsed ad-libs. I could not have expected more form the cast, however, the final result was a ‘Grandma’s beige cardigan’. You could see the immense amount of work, time and love that had been poured into the project, but the result was something that few would want – A beige cardigan. To be blunt I found the show at times puerile, 30% too long, bitty and tedious. Harsh words, but I think that the final, somewhat ‘polite’ applause backs my opinion. A shame as the team worked so hard – a captivating, well-constructed script is so important.