FESTIVAL – Thursday – Norwood Concert Hall – Til 16 March – 4.5K

Image By Chris Herzfeld

Image By Chris Herzfeld

By Peter Maddern

In times of horror, such as the London bombings of 2005, the tendency of the media is to paint those caught up in it all somewhat homogenously – ‘victims going about their daily lives when …’ And while individual cases are sometimes examined, especially as time goes on, but usually then only in somewhat of a rose coloured manner, rarely are we allowed to visit upon the real float of those ‘victims’ all together. Thursday proves us with that opportunity.

Being based around the very confronting words of Adelaide-born Gillian Hicks, Thursday lays bare this homogeneity idea for we see people who are shallow, loving, not educated, rude, gay, coloured, fresh from domestic fights, missed breakfasts and the like all brought together, cramped and without respite from the vagaries of the beast or beauty next to them on a tube train, not out of choice, but as a part of their efforts to get from sun up to sun down and then to the next sun up as best they can. Then everything changes.

Thursday also takes us beyond to ask the very real questions about what separates life from death, why these people receive so much attention when great suffering is going on daily in homes and hospitals everywhere and how much luck is involved in whether you survive or not, are maimed or not and so forth. (Curiously, the role of a God is hardly mentioned.)

The relationship that develops between Rose (Kate Mulvany) and her nurse, Bonita (Emma Handy), when in hospital, is especially poignant. When we are taken a year on, the changes in their lives and of their persons and the hurt of these two players as a result is made plain, especially as the media looked to make the most of the anniversary of the events using images that suggested all the players had stood still in time.

Thursday is a joint production between Adelaide’s Brink and the English Touring Theatre. Given the unhappy results of last year’s production, a lot rests on Thursday for Brink, especially given the roll call of leading Adelaide medicos (et al) who have financially supported this production. The audiences’ reaction last night should give all involved great hope.

As suggested above, both Kate Mulvany and Emma Hardy give fine performances, with both maintaining as heroic a balance of stoicism, commitment to the task and to each other as their circumstances could allow. Tom Mothersdale as Adrian, the slobbish arts student / graffitist who finishes up with a host of mixed blessings from the ordeal, is also excellent. Though to separate out these three is perhaps unfair on what is a top flight cast that delivers an exacting and at times exhausting script with perfect timing and emotion.

The unique connections of this work and production with this town, especially in the light of the Kreutzer Sonata’s casting issues, makes this now the most important piece of theatre in this year’s Festival. To say that is not to suggest this is an easy play to witness, with every imaginable theatrical flourish used to deliver a telling inspection of what it is to be alive. But, for top flight theatre, there will be few other productions that will come close to Thursday – anytime, anywhere – in Adelaide this year.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

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