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Q44 Theatre Presents 'Hurlyburly' - Review

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by Ree Winter (subscribe)
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Q44 invites you into a Hollywood living room
Hurlyburly, a play by David Rabe, directed by Gabriella Rose-Carter.

hurlyburly, theatre, q44, play, arts
Q44 Theatre's HurlyBurly

Imagine you've been invited into someone's 1980s style living room. The thing that first strikes you is the smoke. When the smoke clears, you see a brilliant room of white - white shag pile carpet, white cupboards and against one wall, a white egg chair. Two men occupy the room. One is reading through a script and the other is lying down.

As you make yourself comfortable in the room, the characters jump to life. The pace is fast. You find yourself looking across the room, like you're at a tennis match. The words coming out of their mouths are so rapid fire, so intense, you work hard and pay attention to every intricate detail.

This is Hollywood. This is drugs and movies and sex.

At the centre are four friends - Eddie, Phil, Mickey and Artie with remarkably different personalities but they make it work. They always stick up for one another - no matter what the other has done. Yet, at the same time, each character appears to feel extremely alone in a self-centred way. One moment you hate them, the next you feel sorry for them, the next you like them. In every regard, they're human.

The standout role was definitely Anthony Scundi's performance as Eddie. He makes you believe that this is what Hollywood in the 80s was about - this intense, drug-induced passionate life where friends come first and women come second.

Next in line is the dynamic between Eddie and Darlene - played by Erin Lilja - as they practically bounce off one another's words. You at once feel that this relationship is inevitable yet doomed.

Also of note, is William Prescott's role as Phil. This character is hateable. You hate him so much that it's not until after the play is over that you realise he's an actor playing a role, but the acting is so believable it makes you take pause.

The Q44 is a mix of open spaces and warren-like halls. It twists and turns as you're led down corridors to reach a theatre space that makes you feel like you're part of the action. HurlyBurly is well-worth a trip down to Swan Street, Richmond where you can come in from the cold night and warm yourself in Eddie's living room, but you should know: it won't be relaxing.
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Why? Intense theatre at its best. David Rabe's HurlyBurly
When: 2nd May - 21st May
Phone: (03) 9417 5747
Where: Q44 Theatre, 1/550 Swan Street, Richmond
Cost: $38 or $32 conc.
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