Helensvale Cultural Centre
October 16th, 2014
|Daniel Murphy & Monette Lee|
It seems appropriate that with Mental Health being so widely represented in the media recently, Purple Pear Productions has just started their World Premiere, S.E. Queensland tour of a new play entitled Shrinks by award-winning playwright, Timothy Daly.
This charming and insightful three-hander follows the professional and personal trials of a husband & wife team, both psychiatrists, trying to manage the alleged mental illness of the same handsome young patient. Mr. Dayly uses the analogy of the butterfly flitting gracefully but momentarily into an otherwise still garden in his cleverly constructed script, as a reminder that there is always beauty around us if only we take the time to look for it.
Director Michelle Miall has put together a very strong cast including local theatre regular Monette Lee and Daniel Murphy as the embattled “shrinks” and Jason Bentley as the “very easy to fall in love with” Brazilian patient, Carl. Ms Miall’s direction is powerful and filled with subtle meaning – her blocking of the three actors is beautifully paced and the small set is masterfully used to its to its utmost potential.
Technically the show is strong: Ken Robertson’s set is simple and effective and while I found it a bit strange that the curtains are hung on the outside of the window, the set and dressing nicely serve to support the performers and not upstage them. The lighting, on the other hand, is a little upstaging at times as the lighting state and colour temperature change with irregular monotony and for no apparent reason.
However I really enjoyed Shrinks: I always enjoy good performances, clever writing and a play that makes me think. It seems the universe does have a way to send us reminders when we need them: the problem may not always be where we first perceive it to be and that sometimes it’s the victim who becomes the rescuer.