By David Allen
Melissa Bubnic's Shedding is, at its core, a play about dichotomies.
The clueless bookworm, the world-weary bimbo, the boy who says more with his silence than he ever does with words - all make an appearance in her relentless exploration of family and the question of whether we can ever truly know the people with whom we sit at dinner.
The story is told in a series of vignettes, each focussing on a member of the family and their relationships with friends, other family members and partners.
The family is drawn together in several beautiful dinner-table scenes, to the blue shimmering light of the television screen. Invariably ending with each person retreating to their own space (and their own television), these scenes are a beautiful depiction of a stereotypical Australian family struggling to relate to each other in a changing world.
Sarah Borg and Jez Constable are particularly impressive as Tina, the older daughter disappointed with life, and Robert, her suffering boyfriend.
Tina's acerbic commentary on the futility of modern communication is wonderfully contrasted with Robert's more pragmatic realism. The final confrontation between the pair is a terrifyingly familiar scene, played with an unexpected maturity by these two young actors.
By far the most frightening performance of the evening, however, was the character of Johnny, the near-silent son.
Crippled by depression, Johnny struggles to find love and happiness. Stefan Taylor is fantastic in this difficult role, bringing humanity to Johnny's character with an irresistible sensitivity.
The humanity and fallibility of the characters, coupled with biting dialogue, make Shedding a fun and thoughtful piece of theatre. By being unafraid to engage with grave and often depressive subject matter, Melissa Bubnic has given us an insightful and darkly humorous look at what it really means to be a family, to be Australian, and to be a person in a rapidly changing world.
7 – 24 May, 2008
8pm Thu - Sat, 6.30pm Wed & Sun
Friday 10th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 11th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 17th May 2013 8pm
Saturda 18th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 24th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 25th May 2013 2pm & 8pm