REVIEW: A New Australian Play – CROSSED

A moving and immersive theatre experience

By Kate Boston-Smith

I did not know what to expect as I picked up my ticket from the always-fabulous door staff at La Mama’s Courthouse on Thursday for the opening night of Crossed, a new work by young playwright Chris Summers and directed by Matt Scholten

The story is based around the tragic true event from 2010 when a teenage boy from Melbourne’s northern suburbs was shot and killed at a skate-park by police. 

The stage was set down the middle of the theatre with the audience on either side.  Over Kat Chan’s sparse set was hung a long sheet of clear- corrugated plastic that literally encased the cast in the suburbia they were going to set up for us, and that they did with desolate precession.

Summer’s character choices were spot on, and Platform Youth performed them brilliantly.  Each narrated the event from their perspective.  From the moment the cast entered the stage, the story was flying.

The characters fired their lines with an explosive desperation, expressing their need to share their version of the event and to wonder how they could have changed the outcome had they made different choices in the lead-up to the shooting. 

The retelling of their stories revealed the disconnection they felt from their family, school or community around them.  The heat of the text reflected the intensity of their individual heartache, and as this intensity grew so too did the heat of the atmosphere in the theatre. 

The lighting by Lisa Mibus and sound design by Pete Goodwin were industrial and fitting for this harsh stories.  The exemplary cast comprised of Prag Bhatia, Matthew Candeland, Nick Linehan, Jenny Lovell and Ioan Roberts carried off this fast-paced script beautifully.  In the build-up to the climax, I looked at audience members sitting across from me and saw them literally leaning forward, such was the anticipation of the moment. 

I particularly enjoyed the roles of the mother and Dino.  The mother’s loss and isolation from the community she has always lived in and Dino’s intense bravado.  That said, each character provided an incredibly interesting look into their private world and their perception of the moment at the skate-park.

All in all I thought this interpretation of that day in late 2010 was an insightful and superbly agonizing re-telling.   

Crossed by Chris Summers

Dates:Thur 9 June–Sun 19 June 2011
Times:8pm Tue-Sat, 2pm Sat/Sun, 5pm Sun
Tickets:$25 Full, $15 Con, $22.50 Group 10+

Venue : La Mama Courthouse
349 Drummond Street, Carlton

Bookings : 03 9347 6142, www.lamama.com.au

Photos by Deryk McAlpin

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