Significant, simmering theatre
By Myron My
Two men have each tripped a landmine; if either step off, they run the risk of blowing themselves apart. One is an Australian soldier trying to protect his country and the other is a Muslim civilian trying to protect his family. In Attic Erratic’s latest production for the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Tripped, these two men begin to realize that perhaps their differences are not so polarised after all.
Nick Musgrove’s script is intense, and from early on my mind was racing as to how this was all going end. Although I did not artistically agree with the ending and found it somewhat self-indulgent, it was still unexpected and organic and drove home the issues of who exactly is the enemy and what do we fight for.
My other issue with Tripped was the role of the priest (Liam O’Kane). As a priest, the character seemed completely unaware of the gravity of the situation in which he found himself, and it felt like he was being played for comic relief rather than as a person whose helicopter has just crashed and killed seven men and who is caught in a war zone .
Overall though, Celeste Cody continues to impress with her direction, ensuring the tone and impact of the script remains constant as it is comes to life on stage. With the actors’ movements obviously limited, Cody ensures that engagement with the audience is maintained through other avenues, including the lighting and sound effects.
Angus Brown does a great job as Australian soldier Norm. He manages to show a human, troubled side to a character that could have easily just been an ignorant “jock” soldier if given to the wrong actor. However, it is Ezel Doruk who really shines as Ahmed, the “rag head” civilian who gets caught in the crossfire. His performance of a man who falls victim to his circumstances and faith was emotive and raw. I thoroughly enjoyed the tête-à-tête between the two as the story built up to its dramatic conclusion.
With the recent news of terror arrests and killings happening in Australia, this is a timely reminder on how easily it is to get caught up in the propaganda of fighting a war we know or understand very little about. Tripped is yet another exciting topical piece of theatre by Attic Erratic – good writing, strong direction and gripping performances.
Venue: Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Season: Until 4 October | 6:30pm
Tickets: $24 Full | $19 Conc