REVIEW: Red Stitch Presents JURASSICA

Impressive cast in family saga

By Caitlin McGrane

Jurassica is a familiar Australian family story of immigration and assimilation. Ralph (Joe Petruzzi) and Sara (Caroline Lee) came from Italy in the 1950s to begin a new life in Australia. As immigrants in a foreign land they attempted to adjust to a new way of life, while trying to maintain their familiar traditions and customs. The play is told through flashback sequences as Ralph’s son Ichlis (Jordan Fraser-Trumble), grandson Luca (Edward Orton) and daughter-in-law Penny (Devon Lang Wilton) attempt to deal with his rapidly failing health. All the performers in the ensemble cast give exceptional performances as individuals and work well together. Fraser-Trumble and Orton both do a particularly good job of playing men/boys at a variety of ages.

Jurassica

However, for me the play did not hang together exceptionally well: the script was slightly tired and took a well-trodden path that was not aided by the addition of the interpreter Kaja’s (Olga Makeeva) Serbian background story, which seemed slightly clumsily included. Director Bridget Balodis has done a terrific job in the six weeks she had to put the play together, but the story was not quite up to the standard I have come to expect from Red Stitch. However, the writing was not without merit, and the play maintained a steady and relatively engaging pace throughout.

As always at Red Stitch the staging and lighting were excellent: Romaine Harper (Set & Designer) and Amelia Lever-Davidson (Lighting Designer) have both done a wonderful job of evoking a variety of environs on stage.

In some ways this is a story of fragile masculinity within a family, and while it was certainly told with its heart in the right place, it unfortunately did not strike a chord with me. This may have been due to the heavy use of Italian, which I do not understand or speak. Luckily I attended with someone who does so she was able to translate, but this somewhat distracted from the intentions on stage. I look forward to seeing what playwright Dan Giovannoni does next.

Dates: Until Nov 9th 2015

Red Stitch Actors Theatre
Rear 2 Chapel Street
St Kilda East, Vic 3183, Australia

Bookings: http://redstitch.net/gallery/jurassica/

Image by Jodie Hutchinson

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