Black Swan State Theatre Company
Heath Ledger Theatre
reviewed by Neville Cohn
A huge, orange red dust cloud settles over the city. No one can recall anything quite like it. It
transforms Perth, calling to mind Beijing during one of its worst smog periods – but an orange-
hued version of it. And it is in the midst of this eerie fug that Suzie Miller’s fascinating play
A young woman (Charlotte Devenport) prepares for her wedding later that day. She is distraught
as the fine dust settles on her dress and on the white Rolls Royce she’s hired to take her to the
ceremony. She is shockingly foul mouthed as she vents her spleen at a hapless wedding planner
Benj D’Addario who has never before had to contend with such an extraordinary occurrence.
Then the marquee where the reception is to take place collapses in the wind. There’s trouble at the
airport, too, with flights cancelled across the board which means many guests from interstate won’t
make it to the celebrations.
Elsewhere in the city, a stepfather (Kelton Pell in top form) of a troubled young woman is having
a particularly tough day with the added maddening annoyance of a meddling motormouth
neighbour in a theatrical tour de force by Caroline McKenzie. She also plays mother of the bride.
Nicholas Starte as the Egyptian taxi driver and his passenger Alison van Reeken as Elektra, a
‘dancer’, give performances of sterling worth. D’Addario, in a dual role, is first rate as the FIFO
worker. And Ben Mortley is convincing both as Alistair, a young man on the prowl, and a dejected
Fiona Bruce‘s minimalist, multipurpose set is ingenious with actors themselves moving props
across the stage, suggesting a myriad of locations: the interior of a taxi, the front porch of a house,
a bedroom. It is a model of stage discipline. Trent Suidgeest’s lighting design very effectively
enhances atmosphere. And Emily McLean’s directorial touch helps bring the production to
fascinating life. Bravo!
If this play doesn’t find a place in the international theatre repertoire, I’d like to know why.