Our August picks for community theatre
24 Aug 2015
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
The two works that I have chosen this month are by mid-career playwrights. Matt Cameron’s Man The Balloon was produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company (directed by Simon Phillips) and Melita Rowston’s Crushed was produced at the New Theatre in Sydney.
Matt Cameron is well known for his quirky, dream-like plays. He creates delicate worlds, which always have a subtext of disquiet and mordant fear. In Man The Balloon, Cameron takes this to a whole new level of satire and near farce as, one by one, the crazy characters in a small country town begin to spontaneously combust. This is a play which provides enormous opportunities for actors, directors and designers and which, with its overlay of comedy, gives great pleasure to audiences as well.
Melita Rowston’s Crushed is a thriller. A group of friends reassemble twenty years after the disappearance of one of their number. The case is ‘cold’, but some evidence re-surfaces and, as the play goes on, the past starts to reveal its secrets. Crushed is a complex and beautifully constructed work. Peppered by 80s anthems and shot-through with astute observations about Australia and its youth-centred beach culture, it is both diverting and disturbing. Rowston’s writing strikes a delicate balance and the experience is both absorbing and rich. Great roles and a great ride for an audience who like a bit of substance with their thriller.
Tom Healey, Literary Manager