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The Return by Reg Cribb at The Little Theatre by Adelaide Theatre Guild, 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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The Return by Reg Cribb at University of Adelaide, Little Theatre, Review
A ticket gets you onto the train, but will you be let off?


Reg Cribb was inspired to write his play, The Return after he witnessed two hooligans harassing a young woman on a Midland to Fremantle train and not intervening to assist her. He has created a play with strong themes and language which appears topical and relevant with the increasing number of media reports of bullying and racially directed harassment on public transport around the country.

To stage a psychological thriller on stage with the amount of tension required to disturb and gratify audiences can be difficult to maintain, but Cribb manages this with the right amount of black humour to support and sustain the tension and suspense.

I feel it would spoil the enjoyment of watching the play, if I described the plot in detail, so I won't. The story is simple enough; two young hooligans harass an attractive young woman on a train. Her responses to their harassment and the reactions of two other passengers become vital to the plot, and provide unexpected twists in the strong structured story-line.

The Return by Reg Cribb at University of Adelaide, Little Theatre, Review
James King as Trev, James Whitrow as Steve, Steve Marvanek as the writer and Sarah Cullinan as Lisa.


Directed by Eric Strauts, the cast are outstanding as they perform complex and convincing characters. James Whitrow Steve, the leader, the career hooligan, whose threatening and violent behaviour is so frightening and confronting. James King as Trev, as the restless and troubled younger hooligan, appears even more unpredictable because mixed with his anger and threatening manner is his occasional black humour, which was well received by the audience.

Sarah Cullinan as the young attractive law student Lisa, who is harassed, provides a complex and believable performance.

A captivating performance from Nicole Rutty as Maureen, the downtrodden housewife, who has runaway from her bleak home-life for a new beginning. Maureen is again believable with her terrified outburst when confronted by the thugs, to the moments of subtle humour she provides as she succumbs to their demands to socialize and share their bottle of spirits.

Steve Marvanek does a fine performance as the writer.

The set design of the train carriage by Eric Straut's is simple and realistic with authentic train seats. Richard Parkhill's lighting design is realistic with believable announcements, the illusion of train doors opening and closing and train stations being identified.

The only thing disappointing for me about the evening's performance was the poor attendance. The small attendance was no doubt due to my attending on Tuesday evening during the school holidays.

The Adelaide Theatre Guild has an excellent reputation for developing both amateur and professional theatre in Adelaide. The Return has won the 2001 Patrick White Playwrights' Award and was short listed for the 2001 Qld Premier's Literary Award.

With its realistic dialogue, the confronting and convincing performances of the cast and Eric Straut's gripping and unsettling production of this award winning play, this production is well worth seeing. The arousing performances explore the themes of homophobia, violence, poverty and the cultural differences resulting in class resentment, provide a gripping theatrical experience. Cribb does not try to offer any solutions to these problems, but his thought provoking play with its high tension and social realism is bound to stimulate his audiences to consider the matters raised in the framework of their own lives, and will surely generate energetic discussions.

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Why? This exciting and stirring production of an award winning play explores themes of class resentment, homophobia, poverty and violence with lots of black humour.
When: 7.30pm Sat. 3 Oct. Tues. 6 Oct - Sat. 10 Oct. Tues. 13 Oct - Sat. 17 Oct.
Phone: 8313 5999 - Group Bookings 10 at concession rate from 8313 5999 only
Where: The Little Theatre, The Cloisters (off Victoria Drive), University of Adelaide. After hrs parking available in the University grounds Please allow extra time for parking when AFL games are at Adelaide Oval (ticket machine in Cloisters parking area.)
Cost: Tickets $28 Full / $23 Concession ONLINE www.adelaide.edu.au/theatreguild (fee applies) Tickets at the door subject to availability (cash only)
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