‘The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom.

by September 2, 2016

‘The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You’ is a Western Australian Premiere by multi-award winning, Irish-born, Finegan Kruckemeyer. Finegan, who was state finalist for the ‘Young Australian of the Year Award’, has won numerous awards for his books in three or four continents.

Hand in Hand Theatre is proud to present its 75-minute, debut show in Studio 411 at Murdoch University, Murdoch each evening at 7.30 until Saturday 3rd September.

 

The stage has a mass of greenery at each side representing the Aussie Bush. Against the back wall is a run-down forest cabin, with a set of steps leading down from the veranda. Justin Crossley’s set was built and painted by Claire Mosel, Nashy MZ, Amber Jantjies and Hannah Anderson.

The stage manager, Nasyhithah Zaini, had her team well organised. At the beginning of the play, there are several short scenes and cameos, so it was imperative to keep the pace up with quick scene changes. There were occasions where, for example, a stage assistant (Alex McVey – amongst others) would briskly walk on, hand a bunch of flowers to an actor, pick up a chair and exit without any hesitation; this style worked extremely well. Congrats.

The lighting rig is limited, but Amanda Ferguson managed to capture the night scene beautifully. The atmosphere was further enhanced by Aiden Willoughby’s soft musical compositions and Corina Brown’s clever and subtle use of sound effects – so many operators get the volume far too high.

Bobby Cooper, Ellie Hopwood and Cody Lam. designed the makeup and costumes that covered skank to garage owner.

 

       16-year-old Connor (Bradley Clarke) has decided that his parents are not the shining examples that he has admired for years, but actually narrow-minded dags. He finds his caring mother (Grace Pusey) smothering.

       One day on his way to school, he tells the bus driver (Hock Edwards) exactly what he thinks of him and his work as a mere public servant. Later, when Connor meets his best friend Timo (Kieran Renouf), his young hormones create yet another crisis. Even his beautiful, concerned classmate, Seannah (Hannah Anderson) seems to bring out the worst in Connor.

       At their wits end, Connor’s parents take him into a forest and, in boot camp style, leave him to fend for himself – this is where bolshie Lotte (Karen Hansord) finds him.

 

Director, Justin Crossley and his production manager, Claire Mosel, have gathered a very good cast. Some performers are experienced and others getting their first big chance on stage. Not only has Justin managed to understand the complex and deep emotions involved – buckets of anger, self-doubt and repressed love – but he has also managed to pass these feelings on to his actors, and have them present them subtly.

This is a beautifully written and structured play that could so easily have been ruined by overacting; Justin’s approach was spot on.

Connor is a youth that we have either been, or know well. This play lets young students know that they are not alone, they are loved and there is hope.

A strong first production for ‘Hand in Hand Theatre’.