Looking Glass

Looking Glass
By Louris van de Geer. Directed by Susie Dee. Presented by New Working Group at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 2-13 August, 2017.

The style of Looking Glass lends itself to the futuristic, dystopian vision that characterises this production. This play examines strained family dynamics and centres around a young boy, Marcus (Daniel O’Neill/ Thomas Taylor) and his anxiety-ridden parents: Mother (Daniela Farinacci) and Father (Peter Houghton). Voice (Josh Price) provides guidance and instructions for the parents to help them deal with their son. However, they seem to look upon Marcus as though he were an alien and they are unable to genuinely connect with him.

Price’s soothing voice and instructions frequently come across the tannoy or they are conveyed as a voice-over. The effect proves to be quite sinister as the very clinical environment immediately takes on an Orwellian atmosphere. Farinacci effectively captures the paranoia that seems to infect the family relationships.

The dramatic sound effects reiterate the surveillance oriented society that governs their lives and the highly-stylised nature of the staging is beautifully orchestrated and delivered. This is not a comfortable narrative, although the staging and the characterisations are far more ominous than anything suggested in the text. This production seems to demand more from the play than it is able to offer.

There are some wonderfully absurd scenarios which provide a great touch of irony to the play. The impeccable and inventive nature of the production creates a unique and fascinating performance.

Patricia Di Risio

Images: (top) Daniel O'Neill and (lower) Thomas Taylor (child on ground), Peter Houghton and Daniella Farinacci. Photographer: Pier Carthew.

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