30 April 2008

Olllie and the Minotaur

Olllie and the Minotaur
and 9minds
29 April 2008
fortyfive downstairs

Ollie and the Minotaur is as good as theatre gets. Intricately crafted writing, powerful direction and remarkable performances prove that the fourth wall and naturalism is still a force to be reckoned with.

Local independent company 9minds worked with Adelaide independent company floogle to bring floogle’s recent Adelaide Fringe production to Melbourne. I’m from Adelaide. I know there is great stuff hidden among the churches and pints of Coopers. Like a latte from Lucia’s or a Rockford’s Basket Press Shiraz, this is the kind of theatre that makes the good stuff pale in comparison.

Ollie and the Minotaur starts as a Sex in the Cityesque look at three nearly 30 Saturn-returners, who have left the city for a weekend at the beach house. As the G and Ts and lolly snakes come out, so do the usual problems of finding your good looking date is wearing a g-string, the desire to fuck without being “his fuck” and reminiscing on a past that we suspect isn’t quite as rosy as the stories tell. The comedy is natural and easy, blending story, joke and the most wonderful pair of ‘90s pants.

As mystery, secrets and doubt emerge; director Sarah John gently moves the mood from carefree and comfortable to edge of the seat tense. There are many perfect moments in this production, but the final scene is one that will long be remembered by those who see it.

Why do we tell lies to protect the people we love? Why do we lie to ourselves? If the fantasy world of our lies makes us happy, should we tear it down? Duncan Green is clearly an astonishing young playwright who explores deeply resonating themes. His content and characters are authentic. He gives each character a dilemma with far reaching consequences, forcing them to react and change in unexpected ways. No one is left even resembling the person they were at the beginning. Some would argue that a final act seems to be missing, but this work ends at exactly the right moment.

The ensemble of Wendy Bos, Adriana Bonaccurso and Sarah Brokensha are all remarkable. There is no sense of technique, no acting or awareness of being watched. It feels almost filmic, but much more intimate, as the audience are only as comfortable as the characters we are watching. Brokensha’s Bec is especially moving, as she tries to stop the avalanche of truth that is plummeting into her life.

Each week I find myself saying that the amazing theatre in this city is hidden in small venues and seen by a handful of the lucky ones. There’s still plenty of time to be among the lucky ones and see Ollie and the Minotaur and let’s hope that floogle visit us again very soon.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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