Thursday, May 15, 2014

Theatre: Wish

Based on the novel by Peter Goldsworthy

Adapted and directed by Humphrey Bower
Featuring Humphrey Bower, Danielle Micich
With music by Leon Ewing
State Theatre Centre Studio
Until May 31

I've had innumerable conversations with people who utterly disagree with my criticism of Humphrey Bower's Wish. It's now having a second season, this time under the auspices of the Perth Theatre Company at the State Theatre Centre's Studio.
The script for this production has been extended somewhat from the original, which allows the narrative to fill out a little and its concerns to be more developed, but my opinion of the work is essentially unchanged. Here's my review of the original 2011 production at the Blue Room:
Wish, the novel by the Australian author Peter Goldsworthy, has been given a graphic and discomforting stage adaptation by the actor and writer Humphrey Bower at the Blue Room Theatre.
The play deserves to be taken seriously, because its author and adaptor/ performers handle its repugnant subject matter with sensitivity and compassion. The problem – a fatal one in my view – is that it has no wider compass. There’s no discernable allegory here. It’s not a fable. Wish doesn’t even really qualify as a cautionary tale. It’s a pity, because Wish is a strongly realised piece, with excellent performances from both its actors. 
Bower is a born storyteller – the entire play is a monologue by his character – and wins our understanding and sympathy from its first moments. Micich gives a compelling performance, her powerful, supple body as expressive as the words her character cannot speak. But there’s the rub; if you replaced her with the “real” character she is playing, the theatre would be soon empty.     
Link here to the complete review in The West Australian 

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