09 March 2014

Mini review: Broken

4 March 2014
Long Play
to 5 March 2014

Often the only way to get your work produced is to do it yourself. Writer and director Tommy Doyle has done so with his play Broken, which ran for three nights and five performances in North Fitzroy.

One of the best ways to become a better theatre maker is to get your work onto stages and listen to the feedback of people other than friends and family. The role of friends and family is to always be encouraging, and that's a great role to have.

Broken is created by and about 24-year-olds and it really reminded me of being 24, an age where you tend to really get into sex and into get really angry about the world.

As a new work, it shines in its genuine enthusiasm and passion for theatre, and in its ability to create a mood and a set with little more than six IKEA lamps and a clever use of the cast on a tiny stage.

As a new work, it suffers from trying to be far too much and not knowing what to leave off the stage. Its mix of styles is inconsistent and confusing; the story can't decide if it's a murder mystery, a story about couples, a tale of internet dating or a commentary on society; and characters get lost when they discuss issues rather than talk to each other.

Much of what is told on the stage is backstory or already clear in the subtext. If you can say it with fewer words or in less time, do so. Trust that audiences can and will know what's going on because they are always as smart, if not smarter, than the creators.

There's a terrific and original noir-style murder mystery, with some original and delightfully nasty characters, hidden in the script. It might just need the tough love of a dramaturg or editor to set it free and help it towards its next incarnation.

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