Compelling tale of a crime lord and his cohorts
By Myron My
Being a leader is not the easiest thing. Especially when you are a leader of a mob group or crime syndicate and have to determine who is genuinely looking out for your safety and to constantly second-guess in whom you can put your trust. In Bitten By Productions’ The Last Supper, crime lord Dorian is facing these problems. What follows is an evening of truths being spoken, lies and deception being revealed, and an examination of the extremes to which people will go to be a leader and claim power.
Dorian (Gregory Caine) has invited his most inner circle to a meeting: his “trusted” associates and partners. Those invited include his brother Brody (Karl Sarsfield), Madam President, Claudia (Ashley Tardy), the Head of Intelligence, Novak (Kashmir Sinnamon) and the Chief of Police, Vaughan (Christopher Grant). Once Dorian is finished with his interrogations, this may indeed be the last supper for some of them, as failure to perform their jobs results in death.
Gabriel Bergmoser‘s script has some great moments of tension, especially between Brody and Dorian, and the build-up to the conclusion is quite compelling. Bergmoser’s language is highly descriptive and the scene where Dorian retells the story of the pool of glass is so vivid and feels so real that the visuals created in my mind were highly intense. However, this narrative flashback feature is also the difficulty I had with the structure of The Last Supper: the many conversations about past events referencing at least half a dozen non-present characters. At some points, it felt like we were spending too much time focusing on the past than on the present, and not working with these interesting characters actually on stage.
With The Last Supper being seen as a conclusion to a loose trilogy by Bitten By Productions, I wonder – despite being told it is not necessary – if having seen Below Babylon and Beyond Babylon would have made this narrative easier to follow.
Sarsfield brings lots of emotion and honesty with the nervous Brody, who is eager to break free from the life of crime and be a good husband and father. As the story progresses, this desperation to lead a normal life is handled capably by Sarsfield. Similarly, Sinnamon and Grant do well with their supporting roles, each bringing their respective characters to life quite convincingly.
Despite some extremely powerful monologues, I felt some of Caine’s emotional responses as Dorian did not always feel authentic and his motivations and actions were not always clear or seemed to contradict themselves. Tardy does a great job as Claudia, but unfortunately fails to bring credibility to the character. I feel this is more a casting issue though, as she appeared to be too young for the role.
Less than a year ago, I watched Bergmoser’s Reunion and I saw potential in his writing. The Last Supper is clearly far more ambitious than this previous play, but fortunately there has also been a strong improvement in his skill as a writer. Even with the somewhat confusing and discursive narrative structure, the suspense, and the pay-off for the audience at the end, is worth it.
Venue: My Handlebar, 581 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.
Season: Until 16 May | Wed-Sat 7:30pm
Tickets: $20 Full | $18 Conc