THEATRE: Random – State Theatre Company of SA – Space Theatre – 4K

SMA Kryztoff banner May 13 100dpiIn a working class home in London, we witness the beginning of a new day for a family of four. Things progress as usual: it’s a struggle to get out of bed for the son, the daughter is distracted by boy trouble, the mother has burnt the porridge and the father is still asleep, having worked through the night. While all is normal, there is also a hint of something in the air; a fleeting, unsettling shadow hanging over the day. What is to come will leave the family irreparably altered.

Performer Zindzi Okenyo portrays each member of the household with great skill. Nescha Jelk’s direction is tight and clearly differentiated body movements, accents and intonation leave the audience in no doubt as to which character they are following at a particular time. The majority of the action occurs through the eyes of the daughter and, while the other characters provide interesting contrasts to her reactions and experiences, a greater level of emotional connection exists with her. It is the feeling of normality evoked by the writing and the natural performance of Okenyo, which makes the key development in the story so impactful. The disbelief, the denial, the numbness, is all keenly felt by the audience.

The set (Geoff Cobham and Jelk) is straightforward and fitting. This is STCSA’s education show for 2013 and, in addition to the run in the Space Theatre, it tours to various parts of South Australia for further schools’ performances. The simplicity of the staging is thus no doubt partly due to the requirements for flexibility that this imposes. Jelk has employed the space she has well and utilised Okenyo’s wonderful physicality to keep the action varied and interesting. The lighting (Ben Flett) does most of the work in establishing the scene and provides nice transitions through the story and between members of the family. However, the overwhelming darkness of the opening sequence was a little distracting and made it difficult to get acquainted with the physical aspects of the characters early on.

Portraying the effect of a life-altering experience with honesty and realism, Random by debbie tucker green, is thought provoking theatre. Recent events may also make the play resonate in a particularly powerful way for some. This production will generate great topics of discussion for the classroom, while also being a moving experience for general theatre-goers.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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