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The Disorder @ The Chrissie Parrot Arts Centre

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19/2/14

By Jennifer Hocking, with quotes from an interview with writer and director Catherine Bonny

‘The Disorder’ is based entirely upon the inevitability of death and the use of medical science to delay it as long as possible.

Writer and director Catherine Bonny makes use of some ‘rather personal life experience’ to bring this very modern, first-world problem to the front of our minds.

Despite initial first night nerves, the actors soon settled into their ‘darkly comic, satirical’ roles. Bonny and the cast (along with the accompanying audiovisual displays) immersed the audience in the world of long-term illness, family ties and desperation.

The cast was solid, but the stand out performer was Sophie Joske as ‘Ma’, employing an excellent elderly voice, subtle timing and fantastic stage presence. You never doubt that she is a sick, old lady.

The writing was thought provoking, and Bonny aimed to open people’s eyes so that we might acknowledge our ill-conceived sense of entitlement. She did this by giving certain characters soliloquies containing moralistic and well-formed arguments. However, these lacked punch as they were delivered too speedily, which was a shame as it’s important that people get these messages.

The accompanying ‘cinematic montage’ worked well to add to the themes of the play. The sounds composed by the very talented Connor Holmes were distinctly mechanical in tone and rhythm, and the images of environmental disasters and cells multiplying and dying (among others) were an abstract paradox, spliced together in a manner reminiscent of early Soviet films such as Eisenstein’s ‘Strike’ (1925).

‘The Disorder’ partnered cinematic voyeurism and a Kubrick inspired set design with good old-fashioned music hall ‘audience interactive moments’, where the actors bravely made eye contact, and shared the odd joke, directly with audience members.

The stark, yet strangely homely, venue was perfect for this play of juxtapositions, which Bonny acknowledged when she said it ‘influenced our design choices in quite a positive and innovative way; ensuring that we used all the space we had as best we could.’

All, in all, if the cast members slow down their delivery slightly, it’s definitely worth a watch.

 

The Disorder runs @ Chrissie Parrot Arts Centre 21st – 23rd February, 7PM

To read our interview with Catherine Bonny, follow this link: http://www.colosoul.com.au/thearts/theatre/interview-with-catherine-bonny-of-dagaz-productions/

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