Monday, October 09, 2006

Theatre Review

My latest theatre review for Drum. Good play.


Written by the UK’s Dennis Kelly, Osama The Hero starts with the story of Gary, a student who views the world at a slightly different tangent than the rest of society. When asked to do a school assignment on someone he considers a true hero, he finds conventional leaders don’t quite fit the definition of ‘hero’. Leaders of the western world are corpulent suits who lunch and deliver speeches, he reasons, whereas the leader of Al Quaida is a hands-on fighter, an inspiration to millions and therefore a true hero.

The play is set in a housing estate in England. Bins keep exploding and garages burn. A brother and sister argue, the unemployed and slightly unhinged brother obsessively watches the goings on of the rest of the estate. He is appalled that the neighbor with the last undamaged garage has left his wife to have a fling with a schoolgirl. He decides that someone’s going to pay for all that is wrong, and a hostage is taken. There is brutality and violence as facades crack and true nature emerges.

The story then fragments and each of the characters – blood dripping unnoticed from their hands - tells a domestic story that appears to have happened in their past but sometime after the hostage incident (I could have this wrong – the characters may also be random characters with no connection to what has taken place previously), and these monologues are utterly captivating. There is music in the writing, a rhythm that indicates that the script alone would be well worth reading: monologues overlap, lines are looped, the randomness of life is laid bare.

I can still hear the escalating staccato riff that gave the hostage scene such sharp tension, the highlight in a quite excellent sound design. The stage setting was equally sparse and effective, and performances were universally mesmerizing - dramatic, heartfelt with deft flecks of dark humour.

The Rabble is a new national director’s collaboration, and they should feel proud of this disturbing, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable production.

Until 28 October at The Old Fitzroy Theatre, Cnr Cathedral & Dowling Streets Woolloomooloo.


Anonymous said...


This country has funny place names...


Quick said...

Good point. Funny that you can get into a cab and ask to be taken to Woolloomooloo, and the cab driver confirms, Woolloomooloo? And you say yes please, Woolloomooloo. And no one so much as smirks.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Wish I could write a play poking fun at our violent politicians.

We have some names of places here I can't pronounce...shoots, can't even spell them, they're Dutch. One's Blygezight.

Quick said...

Blygezight sounds like a disease that affects tropical fruit.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh, you don't know the half of it, Quick.