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A Modern Theatre Production Sure to Shock
Photo by Tom Cramond
I had the pleasure of experiencing the original theatre production Dirty People by playwright Charlie Falkner on July 27th during its run at the fringe festival 'Bondi Feast'. The play shatters theatre norms resulting in a modern and intensely enjoyable theatre experience.
Dirty People is an invigoratingly honest investigation into the 'selfie generation' set at a local Sydney bar. Through the play, the events which transpire over one night are analysed from the perspectives of each person in the bar. The play consists of only 5 characters, who perform exceptionally well as a unit and as individuals. Charlie Falkner, the author of Dirty People, plays the agitated and shaky James, who finds himself poorly matched on a date with the rude and unfriendly Lucy (Charlotte Devenport). The dynamic between these characters is intentionally tense, and at many times comedic. Sam Devenport plays the politically conservative Rex, who despite his tough exterior is puppeteered by his girlfriend, and local superstar Tina (Zoe Jensen). This phenomenal cast is finished off with Samuel Delich who brilliantly executes the role of the bartender Fred (and later in the production, Ted) who is slightly slow, yet well-meaning. Little more can be said about the plot, as the play utilises slow reveals a major plot point.
Photo by Tom Cramond
The production certainly doesn't lack shock value; at one stage a character spits onto the stage, and at another time the characters engage in people spotting on the individuals in the audience. All the actors perform brilliantly, and their performances come across as natural. The realistic mannerisms of each character makes the play engaging and interesting to watch.
Set and props for the play are simple, with no scene changes occurring in the play. Nonetheless, the setting has been well considered and matches the dialogue well. Likewise, the lighting complemented the play nicely and enhanced the representation of Dirty People. Some of the sound effects were a little corny, such as a chair being knocked over. However, the use of scrambling sounds to convey the play was going 'back in time' was brilliantly obvious, requiring no vocal explanation.
In an era when most theatre goers are in older age brackets, it was particularly impressive to see a large turnout of under 30's for Dirty People, all of whom seemed to enjoy themselves. This new production takes creative risks and utilises shock value and slow reveals which result in a theatre experience that is impressive in its insight into 21st century relationships and the perils of technology.