Review by Meredith Fuller OAM
Silver String Productions brings us the Victorian premiere of Suzie Miller’s fascinating play at the MC Showrooms 22nd to 26th November.
Here’s a significant issue that we all need to reflect on – especially since the recent COVID pandemic – the potency of touch and how it defines our humanity. Miller’s writing is significant and confronting, as well as humorous and sad. The subject matter is particularly relevant as we are disassembling patriarchy, redefining intimate partner relationships, and embracing global implications for Australia’s multicultural citizens. This is an intriguing play and I’m delighted that Silverstring Productions provides this opportunity to see it.
The play is a series of vignettes that “sometimes intersect, collide and connect in unexpected ways. A brilliant surgeon can no longer bear to touch living. Two voices connect over the phone. A desperate mother begs to embrace her son one last time. A young woman seeks understanding.”
Actors Sorab Kaikobad, Fiona Crombie, Laura Knaggs, Taylor Fong, and Delaram Ahmadi are in Director Kate Shearman’s capable hands as we learn more about the physiology and psychology of touch and intimacy or distance between humans.
Set designer Sophie Davis has created a clever stage where her metal angles contrast with soft pulsating bodies that sometimes parallel the rigidity and obduracy of the set. All the actors flipped the props around with grace and dexterity. They dextrously turned a few metal bars into planes, a bath, and liminal apertures. Their capacity to paint visual pictures was impressive.
Fiona Crombie plays a yearning wife, grieving mother, and autistic baby with a raw intensity and truth that had me crying during the final scene. Her soliloquy as a grief stricken mother who is not allowed to hug her son before he is put to death is so powerful.
You may recognise her from www.home-truths.com.au our recent film about family violence from Lesley Coleman from Mystical Dog Productions.
Delaram Ahmadi is mesmerising, hilarious, and exquisitely layered in her dual roles. A multi-talented creative, I expect her to shine on stage and screen for decades to come.
I’m always impressed with production companies that showcase early career younger actors alongside established professionals, and Silver String Productions should be congratulated for this.
The scenes between Laura Knaggs and Delaram Ahmadi were delightful. Laura won our hearts, and Taylor Fong showed us both hurt and duplicity with equal measure.
Sorab Kaikobad embodied his role beautifully.
The narrative technique was well threaded into the acting.
You will both enjoy and learn from this play as you will be entertained and moved while you laugh and shed a tear. You won’t believe the range of topics and issues that are deftly covered.
This was the first performance, and we should forgive a slight problem with the audio mix. The volume somewhat overpowered the dialogue during the first half of the play. It will be easier to hear the dialogue clearly with a bit of a tweak.
I would probably quicken the pace of the initial vignettes a little. But these are only two minor suggestions to consider. Essentially, this is a worthwhile experience you will remember and talk about with friends.
Don’t miss this profound play.