FILM – Girl Asleep – 3.5K

girl_asleep_film_poster_oct_2015By Peter Maddern

For those confronted by them each teenage year can be a struggle but at 15 the passing from childhood and the hurtling into early adulthood comes at you quickly. For Greta Driscoll (Bethany Whitmore) the difficulties of navigating this change are magnified when her dorky parents suddenly decide to throw a birthday party for her. During it she takes a nap where she enters the forest of her dreams, apprehensions, nightmares and future.

Girl Asleep is based on the successful 2014 Adelaide Festival of Arts Windmill Theatre production written by Matthew Whittet who also scores himself a couple of roles in this, most notably as Greta’s father, Conrad.

Under Rosemary Myers’ direction, Greta’s world is a pastiche of the 1970s – fawn, ill-fitting clothing, stone walls, limited technology. Her best friend and suitor Elliott (Harrison Feldman) stands by her side, awkward in the thrall of his first love while other school mates range from well-meaning associates who drift in and out of her world to the most vicious of bullies.

The stage play was overwhelming received by its target audience two years back and many (but not all critics) have similarly oozed over the film as it has toured the Festival circuit since being released at the Adelaide Film Festival not quite 12 months ago. Whether it will resonate with audiences, particularly the key forest / dream scenes in the film’s middle third, now it is in public release only time will tell but Whitmore is a delight as she meets her challenges with an air of bewilderment but stoic determination while Feldman is jammed packed with charisma and a perfect foil for his Greta.

The use of actors in multiple roles works well with perhaps the exception of Windmill regular Eamon Farren who’s Benoit Tremet is a touch confusing. Also  confusing was the need for Greta and Elliott to swap their gear at the end but under the Safe Schools regime anything goes nowadays I suppose.

With the strong potential to be a sleeper that like Greta emerges as a success, Girl Asleep is ideal for anyone with teenage children and for them to attend alone.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K

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