Undercurrent Theatre Company
Devised and performed by Claire Appleby, Scarlet Davis, Shaun Johnston, Christopher Moro and David Stewart
Directed by Samuel Gordon
Blue Room Theatre until Sept 17, 2021
My Shout is a snappy, even-handed trip through the jungle of social and antisocial drinking. It makes no excuses for its excesses, and doesn’t dismiss its pleasures.
That makes it both frank and restrained – a high-wire act that’s not easy to achieve in dealing with something so dear to (most of) our hearts but so damaging to it and many of our other organs.
It’s also an exciting achievement in ensemble performance, combining the skills of narrative, physical, musical and circus theatre.
That’s not surprising, as the performers are all graduates of WAAPA’s excellent Theatre Making course, and they put their wide-ranging talents and training to the best possible use here.
The play’s structure is straightforward enough; four friends, Clare (Appleby). Scarlett (Davis), Sean (Johnston) and Kris (Moro) are out for a Saturday night booze-up.
During their customary weekend ceremony, from footy-watching first beers to drinking games at midnight and dueling shots at dawn, they run the gamut from euphoria to morose emptiness, from playfulness to sombre introversion.
Scarlett, sober after three months off the grog, a little detached and a whole lot more observant, acts as a kind of travel guide for their journey, Kris plays along, Sean is in boots and all and self-destructive, and Clare – well she’s something else.
Two routines Appleby features in, one a supercharged choreography that ends with some table-top skollery, another a frenetic karaoke of The Champs’ Tequila, are memorably hilarious (don’t try either at home kids).
They are among many ensemble sequences that punctuate the show, giving it a structure very like a musical; for this the work of the fifth cast member, the musician David Stewart, whose electric guitar and tech-driven sound bed is crucial and outstanding.
Director Samuel Gordon Bruce has a fine eye for the placement of action in the small Blue Room space, and the effects he and the ensemble create often seem much bigger than the forces at their disposal.
My Shout is a cracking show; it’s a spritzy entertainment spiked with a lot worth saying. You should try a glass of it.
Photo: Kaifu Studios