The Ham Funeral (New Theatre)

hamVenue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Apr 23 – May 25, 2013
Playwright: Patrick White
Director: Phillip Rouse
Actors: Lucy Miller, Rob Baird, Zach McKay, Steve Corner

Theatre review
From what can be deciphered, the story isn’t particularly interesting. The direction is uneven, with a couple of scenes coming across under-explored or possibly misunderstood. The leading actor, while earnest and intense in his performance, was essentially monotonous in his interpretation of his character and lines. All that said, the experience of a surrealist theatrical work must always be an unconventional one. Tackling this difficult text without a lot of smoke and mirrors (it’s a minuscule budget) requires a whole lot of commitment and passion, which this team has in abundance.

The manifestation on stage of a world in a constant nightmare state is particularly successful. A sense of dread permeates, while glimpses of comedy and sexual tension keep the plot moving along deliciously, most notably during scenes where the leading lady is in confrontation with her vociferously formidable male ensemble. Also remarkable, is the production’s soundscape, which is sensitively designed and pays good dividends at unexpected points, when the playwright’s words simply needed more.