This is how the universe begins…
By Amy Planner
The time-honoured story of high-school sweethearts reuniting at a school reunion is one we all know well. But this time round there is something exceptionally different. Peter and Kari were the perfect high-school couple; simple feelings, easy lives, big futures, until a baby was on the way and grim decisions were made. We meet them twenty years later at their high school reunion with bad choices, long-lost feelings and a narrator with her own version in hand.
The rustic and intimate setting of the Abbotsford Convent comforts, as you delve into the familiarity of the characters and their relationships. Stripped down, The Pavilion by Craig Wright explores life and its many choices, how those choices change our paths and how those paths are infinite but never definite. Underneath the poetic narrative is a story that explores much more than its immediate self and asks much bigger questions.
It is an arduous task picking a stand-out performance with a cast of just three, however Claire Pearson’s truly multi-faceted portrayal of The Narrator is something undeniably unique. She navigated seamlessly from an Australian narrator through a myriad of American characters, both female and male, which entered realms of explosively drunk, explicitly stoned, ridiculously sassy, painfully neurotic, and in some places even darn right batty. Katherine Innes and Tim Constantine’s rendering of Kari and Peter are subtle yet intense when appropriate, leaving space for the forceful emotions they are forced to remember and discover.
Nico Wilsdon’s costuming is just colourful enough to give background and make you wonder just where the characters have come from – The Narrator’s gold ensemble is particularly charming. The story and its life-pondering questions are comforted by clever set design (Nicholas Casey) and astute direction (Byron Bache). Despite some momentarily ostentatious dialogue, Craig Wright has delivered a thought-provoking script filled with tiny nuggets of hilarity and true-to-life existential calamities.
Boutique Theatre has brought this international hit to the Australian stage with comedic flare and great philosophical resolve.
Venue: The Industrial School, Abbotsford Covent
Season: 30 October – 14 November, Wednesday – Saturday, 8pm
Tickets: $28 Full, $25 Concession