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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Death Match. Review by David McLean


A drama is generally intended to portray the lives of characters and tell a story involving conflict and emotion. By so doing, concerns and issues are raised with which the audience can identify. Death Match, the theatrical creation of the Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance, focuses on the social emphasis given to winning. This compromises story, character and emotion.

This theatrical composition by director, Katrina Cornwell, and writer, Morgan Rose, is a collaboration with performers Ursula Searle, Rebecca Catalano, Aleeah Gabriel, Earl Marrows, Elly D’Arcy, Stephen Amos and Cody Baldwin.

Their characters are numbers on their athletic attire and, as a company, they worked tightly in sync.

The performance reached its apotheosis with two monologues running simultaneously, with one being interrupted by muted dialogue, while two violins were playing and the image of someone eating an orange was projected on the back screen. We had reached the height of tedium where the monologues were not contributing to the issue or character development leaving the audience wondering what the point was. Because it’s theatrically possible doesn’t mean it should be done.

The intent of the performance was ‘to explore the depths and lengths of human competition’ but the suffering of the audience should be considered as part of this notion of human endurance.

The work was experimental and the cast dedicated. By bringing it into the public domain and charging for tickets they leave themselves open to a reviewer’s critique.

Presumably, the feedback will be welcome as by being experimental the principles of theatrical propriety are challenged and all responses garnered will be part of the ferment they intended to foster.

Malthouse Theatre
Until October 7.
– Review by David McLean

Photo: Ursula Searle, Aleeah Gabriel, Stephen Amos and Earl Marrows in Death Match. Photo: David Sheehy

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