It’s so refreshing to see some great theatre being produced, though calling Little Ones stage adaption of the work by Christos Tsiolkas “great” seems almost reductive. It’s impossible not to be simultaneously blown away yet also drawn inwardly into this performance. Each of the spiralling narratives builds to an unsettling end, as all of the sexual tension explodes and enigmatic energy comes simmering to the surface.
This is the gritty underside of Australia, the kind of places, people and situations that are brought down and into disrepute by our main stream contemporaries and media outlets. It takes no prisoners and it’s bleak bordering on the dystopian. This sense achieved not by painting the big picture but instead tapping into the psychological landscape that lies just below.
The ensemble give in to their respective characters, the over lapping and playing of multiple roles by a single performer is at times a confusing, but deliberate choice. Many times over, you experience just drifting away and becoming lost in many of the heavy passages of text and about this, there is something meditative. Other times, you are brought back into the moment so viscously that you are reduced to tears. The subject matter is unflinching, a terminally ill man who has given consent for his wife and children to administer a lethal dose or the bombing of a gay sauna and rampant sexual exploitation just some of the many themes.
The eye to detail that has been applied to this production by each creator is evident and the picture they manage to paint proves a sumptuous backdrop. The stage forms a sharp and abrupt shape that teeters out from a rich red velvet curtain, the audience flanked on two sides, everything here has been edited down to a distinct colour pallet of blue orange yellow and red. The lighting design is second to none, it’s subtle and its refinement gives further depth to an already layered work.
Nothing can prepare you for this level of awesomeness, it is the very best independently produced locally made theatre we have seen this so far year. Not for the faint hearted or easily offended, this work is important and will be spoken of for sometime to come. An easy prediction to clean up at next year Green Room Awards, Merciless Gods is now playing at Northcote Town Hall.
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