Monthly Archives: July 2014

Dust (Suzie Miller)


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.


Caroline McKenzie

Gary Marsh Photography

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

homeless man.

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!



Image by Gary Marsh Photography

If this play doesn’t find a place in the international theatre repertoire, I’d like to know why.