The Double Bass

The Double Bass
Playwright: Patrick Suskind. Translator: Michael Hoffmann. Director: Lisa Harper Campbell. Cranking Hog Productions. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 9-20 July, 2019.

Solo performances, at their best, carry with them a uniquely thrilling charge, akin to watching a high-wire artist attempting to stay balanced without a net. In the case of this show, Eddie Morrison demonstrates a remarkable ability to keep us interested in the thoughts of one character in one location for 75 minutes.

Morrison applies his genuine skills on the title instrument to excellent use in this text about a professional musician with a less-than-completely-healthy outlook on his professional and personal lives. We are kept inside the apartment of this man, taken through a range of emotions and a spectrum of moods, from amiably erudite to quietly honest to fiercely angry.

Patrick Suskind’s incisive, compassionate writing combines with Morrison’s tremendous portrayal to ensure that the character doesn’t overstay his welcome, ending The Double Bass on a truly compelling cliff-hanger…Director Lisa Harper Campbell has crafted, using a minimal number of elements, an experience that feels impressively fluid and well-modulated. Stephen Dean also deserves kudos for subtly effective lighting and audio design (sharply operated by Eleanor Adams and himself).

I suspect that had Mr Morrison understudied this role for, say, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman on Broadway, there would not have been a paying customer in N.Y. who could feel that there was anything amiss had the star needed to call on the Adelaide actor’s services. Such quality of performance seems, happily, to be growing less and less rare in this state these days – but make no mistake, The Double Bass is certainly special enough to put at the top of your ‘to-see’ list.

Anthony Vawser

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