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Blasted - The Malthouse

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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In-your-face-theatre not for the faint of heart
David Woods and Eloise Mignon - Image by Pia Johnson

Blasted begins with a man and a woman entering a hotel room. It ends with complete destruction. And in between, we as an audience are pushed to our limits, as it asks us what kinds of violence we are willing to accept.

In her debut play, and one of the most controversial scripts of recent decades, playwright Sarah Kane asks all the tough questions about the cruelty humans can inflict on each other, on an interpersonal and global scale. All the atrocities in the world take place in one hotel room, global conflicts and domestic violence collapsing in on each other. It is not easy watching, and definitely not for the faint of heart. In this production, the strong ensemble cast go to very dark places, and should be applauded for their commitment David Woods, in particular, holds nothing back in his portrayal of Ian, as he embodies a man who is unsympathetic yet complicated, and nearly coughs up a lung in the process.

Blasted, The Malthouse Theatre, Sarah Kane, Pia Johnson, David Woods, Eloise Mignon
David Woods and Eloise Mignon - Image by Pia Johnson

Offstage, Blasted features a strong design team. Marg Horwell and Romanie Harper's set design is a fantastic visual representation of the chaos reigning on stage, transforming from slick hotel room to bomb site in seconds. Jethro Woodward's subtle sound design is another highlight, smoothly pulling together each act. The inclusion of a large screen at the top of the set can be distracting at first, but gives the audience a welcome distraction at later points in the play, when the action on stage becomes difficult to watch.

Blasted is a production that will divide audiences it is provocative and oftentimes disturbing. It asks audiences to confront the very worst parts of humanity. But regardless of how it makes you feel, it will definitely make you feel something. For better or worse, Blasted is a play that chooses not to look away.
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Why? Your chance to see a play that shook the world
When: 28th August - 16th September
Where: The Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street Southbank VIC 3006 Australia
Cost: $35-$72
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