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Savage in Limbo @ TAP Gallery

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by Maddy Butler (subscribe)
A Sydney based writer, director, actor. Loves going out and exploring what Sydney has to offer.
Event: -
A play about wanting to change, but not knowing how
Savage in Limbo is an entertaining mix of comedy and tragedy. We are presented with an eclectic group of characters all (apparently) aged 32; an impulsive virgin, a confused stud, an observant bartender, a failed nun, and a "fertile" girlfriend.


The characters are disappointments, the greatest disappointment being that they see themselves that way. They are lonely, even desperate, misfits who seek refuge in a half empty bar in the Bronx while their lives waste away. They're all drawn to the bar; no one seems capable of leaving and facing the real world.

How fitting, then, that the bartender's name is 'Murk'.


While the setting is a world away - an American bar in the 1980s and some situations lean towards the surreal, the characters still resonate with our contemporary world. I also believe that humour, which runs consistently through Savage in Limbo, allows audiences to connect further with the storyline: in what we find funny, we often find truth.

[ADVERT]The characters sound as though they might be stereotypes, but they are not. Playwright John Patrick Shanley has painted the characters with quirks and nuances that make them act in surprising and inventive ways. They share a central problem in that they all want something more out of life, but they don't seem entirely sure what the "something more" is and how it can be achieved.

This is a play which will fail if the actors do not deliver strong performances. We are fortunate in this case as director Stuart Maunder has ensured that the characters are full of life and full of movement. The actors are believable; I was easily swept up into their world. This is further helped by the small space of the TAP Gallery, as we feel as though we are spectators in the very bar, pulled into the drama, compelled to remain silent and equally compelled to stay fixated.

The cast successfully maintained Bronx accents throughout the play, although the most convincing came from Daniel Cordeaux, of Thank God You're Here fame (amongst other titles).


Shanley is an Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner whose other works include Moonstruck, Doubt (the play turned film) and Psychopathia Sexualis.

The TAP Gallery is not the most comfortable of theatres, so I'd advise trying out your seat as soon as you get into the theatre to ensure you'll be able to sit in it in peace for 90 minutes. (I, unfortunately, experienced a considerable amount of discomfort during the performance.)

There was a young child in the audience, however, I wouldn't recommend this as the play contains adult themes and strong swear words.

Tickets can be bought online here, by phone on 1300 31 41 51 or at the door.
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Why? For entertaining and insightful theatre
When: Tues - Sat, 7:30pm
Phone: 1300 31 41 51
Where: TAP Gallery
Cost: $30 (Adult), $20 (Student)
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