Stone/Castro and INspace - Space Theatre (S.A.)

If you’ve ever picked up a cryptic crossword with the intention of nutting it out and enjoying the challenge only to put it aside after a few minutes because it’s just too cryptic – then you will have no trouble understanding why Stone and Castro describe their latest production, Superheroes as a “surreal exploration”.
Cryptic doesn’t really begin to describe the piece written by Paulo Castro. In the program it is described as a “provocative reflection on the complexity of Globalization, the future, violence and war”. Yet despite depicting a lot of anger, fear, mental anguish and distress, it didn’t clearly ‘reflect’ on anything.
Director, Stone, and writer, Castro, both take up parts in the production, which forces one to wonder who exactly was on the outside looking in at this piece during its construction. It incorporates a lot of excellent ideas, and occasionally challenges the audience through some very unique points of view, but unfortunately it is far too disjointed for success. Despite incorporating contemporary dance, projection, wordy monologues and fiery dialogue, the production fails at really excelling anywhere and appears proverbially, like a ‘jack of all trades’.
There is no central character established in the synopsis, but honors seem to fall with Nick Bennett. The performance by Bennett is very pleasurable to watch. He handles long portions of dialogue with excellent focus and maintains good intensity. Julian Crotti and Hew Parham as patient and nurse respectively offer strong characterisations and work well. Lewis Rankin and Nigel Major-Henderson are listed in the program as dancers, and do individually have a few moments of contemporary dance. Unfortunately, despite their good performances, the dance component offers nothing to the production and only makes any attempt at conveying a message more cryptic.
Set design by Wendy Todd is of her usual high standard. The deep set is cleverly revealed throughout the production, and the spaces created skillfully used by the actors. Projection however, despite being expertly incorporated into the show, fails in a few aspects as continually changing design themes break any continuity for the audience.
This production is more confusion than commentary for the future of society. There are a lot of promising and interesting parts throughout, but they are both too few and too disjointed to deliver any enjoyment.
Paul Rodda

24th July 2010

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