‘Inner Voices’ by Louis Nowra is presented by the Curtin University’s Hayman Theatre students at The Rechabites Hall in Northbridge at 8.00 pm until 21st April.
This is director, Donald Pulford’s last production for Curtin University before leaving for a post in Edinburgh. What a production it was! Should any of the disinterested, Curtin upper echelons decide to see the play – and that would be highly unlikely – then they would appreciate what a huge loss is befalling the theatre course. Kathryn Delaney was Donald’s assistant for this play.
The show is 90-minutes without a break, and the time just flies. Despite the rather sombre subject, the actors hold your attention throughout. The story is not in the same mould as ‘Cosi’ but is essentially a serious play about a period of Russian history.
Catherine the Great has died and a search for an heir is taking place, when suddenly two soldiers realise that their prisoner, Ivan (Alan Chambers), is the rightful heir to the throne. However 20-odd years of incarceration has had its toll on Ivan. He is now a broken man, physically and mentally. Mirovich (Walter Hanna), a brute of a soldier, decides to get the support of his fellow officer Leo (Colin Craig) to bring Ivan back to the throne, so that he can control him like a puppet and thereby gain power, indirectly, over the country. Leo is a decent man and is worried about what will happen, none the less, Mirovich succeeds in this first step of his plan and has many more ideas that he wishes to implement.
Earlier in the week I saw Caitlin MacLoughlin give one of the best female performances (Phaedra’s Love) that I have seen in months. Tonight it was Alan Chambers turn to give the best male performance. Ivan was almost mute and autistic when he took over the throne and for 90 minutes, without a break, Chambers mesmerised the audience with his performance of Ivan. The tension throughout was real. Hanna, as the bullying regal adviser turned into a repulsive, megalomaniacal version of Monty Python’s Mr Creosote – another outstanding performance.
There was a large cast with not a single weak link. The set was nil, not even a cyclorama for the actors to hide behind whilst awaiting their entrances. The props were few and far between, much of the visuals coming from Duncan Sharps wonderful lighting. The lamps were almost all spots very accurately positioned, mainly at low angles and with just the correct colour of cell to give the scene the perfect mood.
A small warning for any gymnophobes that may go to see the show, the opening two minutes were in your face!
The audience were agog and ‘WOW’ the keyword at the end. No, this is not me being a Curtinphile, it was genuinely a great show and the perfect send off for Don. Congratulations.