Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Trestle At Pope Lick Creek

Lazy post. This is my Drum Media review of a thoroughly enjoyable play I saw last week. The Dreaded One couldn't make it, I went solo even though I wasn't in the mood, and I was so glad I went. If you're a Sydney-sider into good theatre, definitely check it out.


Odd title, but then American playwright Naomi Wallace has a bit of a thing for odd titles. She also has a bit of a thing for quality writing, with The Trestle populated by some really well drawn characters. There’s a lot going on in this play.

This immediately engaging story follows the relationship between Dalton Chance (Nathaniel Scotcher) and local bad girl Pace Creagan (Sarah Goodchild). They fall into an awkward kind of love, initially not seeing it as love. It’s Pace’s intention for the pair of them to sprint across a railway bridge (the trestle of the title) and outrun a steam train. It’s a dangerous challenge, but Pace is as obsessed with it as Dalton is afraid of it. Meanwhile Dalton’s parents Dray (Errol Henderson) and Gin (Dianna McLean) have to cope with their decaying relationship, his unemployment and growing bitterness over a life wasted. Chas Weaver (Tony Curtis) plays one of the few employed men left in this economically crippled town.

Set during the depression in the southern states of America, the story unfolds in a non-linear way with present giving way to past, all of the characters struggling with the present events and being haunted by memories. Dreams of a bright future are dangerous and fanciful, almost as dangerous as falling in love or trying to outrun a speeding steam train.

Scotcher and Goodchild were superb as the teens trying to make sense of their world. Scotcher was gangly and awkward, Goodchild’s Pace was brazen and flirtatious. The parts called on them go big and bold one minute, then switch to quiet frailty the next, and it was really quite wonderful to watch. This can be said of all the performances, with Dianna McLean perfect as the stoic mother and wife, Errol Henderson a more tragic figure than Willy Loman and Tony Curtis haunted by his past brutality, but also turning on some weirdly humorous moments.

The Trestle At Pope Lick Creek is a rich play. It’s rich with sadness and longing, with love and regret and strange little moments of beauty. Like several productions throughout Alchemy’s first year, this is an excellent one I could easily see again.

Until 9 December, The Lock Up, Riley Street Surry Hills

Managed to see a Neil Simon play (Laughter On The 23rd Floor) at the New Theatre in Newtown last night too. Bloody fun stuff. I think I have to start another blog that is only about theatre stuff. I've been busting my arse lately (for fuck sake, I have a part time job that took up 50 hours this week and is nudging 60 next week) but I really need a theatre hit because I just love the whole live theatre thing.

As for doofing... I don't even know what day it is right now, but I think including days working in the shop and writng days, I am looking at a month of seven days a week. This must stop. I need to be in the bush and go mental.

I have to say though, I feel happier than I have in a long time. Just this smooth sailing lightness of mood that I am not used to. Strange.


gin said...

You write such interesting reviews. Or should I say, you get to see such interesting productions. Perhaps I need to come up to Syd for a weekend & you can organize my cultural schedule for me...

Quick said...

No, you should say I write such interesting reviews :)

I do get to see a lot of wonderful stuff. I find it slightly baffling that people ask me along to so many amazing things. How did I do this? How did I get here?

The Trestle is a good play, and this was a good production of it.

Happy to be a cultural schedule organisor. In fact if you and Wonderboy make it to Sydney, a night of theatre and drinks would be smashing.