Review: EDWARD ALBEE’s The Zoo Story

A rare chance to ponder a rarely seen play

By Myron My

In The Zoo Story, a man is sitting in the park, quietly reading his book. A younger man approaches him and a conversation is struck up. There is an aura of something not being quite right with this man and as the conversation heads into darker and more intense territory, this feeling becomes a strong foreboding…

From then we witness how both these lives will be unequivocally changed from this chance encounter as it plays out in real time. There is very little ‘action’ in The Zoo Story yet so much happens in this short amount of time you really do feel like you’re being raced along through emotional extremes.

The Zoo Story

The two leads – Chris Broadstock and Cameron McKenzie – were highly believable in their portrayals and added to the mounting tension with their confident characterisation and powerful interaction with each other. Peter (Broadstock) as the happily married man with two kids and a cat is a perfect contrast to Jerry (McKenzie), who is alone, unstable and angry. McKenzie was particularly menacing to the point where you really despised his character, even though you weren’t entirely sure why.

I couldn’t help but feel a little unfulfilled by the end of the play as a lot of questions remain unanswered – and this is not a bad thing. Albee’s plays ask more than they reveal and without giving too much away, there is one major question that everyone will want answered but unfortunately – or not, depending which way you look at it – that answer can only be sought in your own experience of the work and your thoughts and discussions afterwards, and here lies much of the sophistication and appeal of this script.

Edward Albee wrote The Zoo Story in 1958, and fifty-five years later, the themes of isolation, loneliness and class difference are still present in society today making this play highly relevant to modern times. For their first-ever production, Good Little Theatre have chosen a great play to perform and I look forward to seeing what else they produce in the future.

Venue: Revolt Productions, 12 Elizabeth Street Kensington

Season: Until 25 March | 7:30pm

Tickets: $20