13 July 2008


Malthouse Theatre and Ranters Theatre
19 July 2008
CUB Malthouse, Tower Theatre

Holiday is a meditative exploration of a world separated from the responsibility and routine of day-to-day life. It’s more weekend beach house than five star resort, but who doesn’t love a few days at the beach.

I was initially intrigued and drawn into this gentle world. Raimondo Cortese’s writing captures casual conversation with ease, Adriano Cortese’s direction is beautifully paced and structured, and Paul Lum and Patrick Moffat’s performances are faultless.  But I wasn’t taken anywhere else. Like a beach house holiday, I kept waiting for something to happen; expecting a moment that would tie the looseness of the conversations, chats and stories into something more.

I could see so much process at work that I was never really engaged, or even that interested in the characters. There were nibbles and hints that drew me back in, but never enough to give a clear understanding of their relationship with each other or make me really care. Which could well be the point of Holiday.  When men are alone, do they really have such mundane conversations?

I didn’t see the original production at Arts House, and suspect that some of the impact of the design was also lost in its transfer to The Tower. Sitting up the back, I was immediately distanced from the white box set, which would have felt a lot more intimate in the front rows. Nontheless, Anna Tregloan’s design perfectly captures the complexity, mood and humour of the work. (Tregloan’s design continues to be a highlight of every production she works on.)  The whole piece is coloured and given remarkable depth by David Franzke’s sound design. I know there wasn’t a cat scampering under my seat, but I found myself looking for it.

There are so many elements of Holiday that are superb, but I came away feeling like I should have packed a really good book to read.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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