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His Ghostly Heart @ Adelaide Fringe 2012: Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
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When Christopher Trace said "Now, for something completely different', he was not referring to the play His Ghostly Heart, but he might as well have been.

What is completely different about the Adelaide Fringe 2012 production His Ghostly Heart, written by Ben Shiffer is this unusual 30-minute play is performed in total darkness. His Ghostly Heart was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival 2010. Much has been written about Ben Schiffe , who is renown for his writing of the teen drama Skins and his collaborative writing of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.

The audience is led by an usher by torch light into a darked room, where it is just possible to make out a double bed and the seating on 3 sides for only 20 audience members. The room is black as the play begins with sounds of two lovers, Tom (Hjálmar Svenna) and Daisy (Sara Lange), having a fun-filled romp in the bed. What follows is some friendly banter, which unfolds into a conversation expressing their deeper emotions.

As an audience, we listen to their intimate conversation, as the two lovers share their disturbing memories and unresolved issues involving their relationship. This rare intrusion fuelled by
Ben Schiffer's honest and insightful writing provides an innate understanding of the emotions of this couple.

Some audience members may struggle with following the drama as it unfolds. Being totally in the dark does require a concentrated effort to listen very closely to the dialogue as Tom and Daisy express why we all may like to hide in the dark sometimes, so we may discover more about ourselves; our unfulfilled dreams, our fantasies and our unresolved guilts. Eventually, we all have to turn the light on.

Even though I thought this was an exceptional play with superb acting performances from Hjálmar Svenna and Sara Lange, who showed deep understanding into the spirit of their characters, I was left with unanswered questions with its dramatic climax. I was unsure whether I missed an important point, or if it was the type of play that different audiences may form different conclusions. Needing my questions to be answered, I watched the play again.

My conclusion is, Schiffer has created a very clever play with His Ghostly Heart which has twists and turns, that may be missed, if an audience doesn't follow the dialogue closely as the drama develops. I felt it was well worth the follow-up. It is certainly one of those dramatic pieces, that some will enjoy revisiting and will benefit from seeing it again.

**** out of *****
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Why? For an exciting and unique theatrical experience.
When: 22nd Feb - 18th March 2012
Where: The Manse, Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh
Cost: $15.00 - $20.00
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