Moving Parts (Will O_Rourke)

Colin-FrielsVenue: NIDA Parade Theatres (Kensington NSW), Jul 25 – Aug 10, 2013
Playwright: David Nobay
Director: Steve Rogers
Actors: Colin Friels, Josh McConville

Theatre review
Moving Parts begins with the image of a lonely old man in a small but upscale watch dealership. Intrigue quickly follows when a second, younger man comes into the picture enquiring about a very large, expensive watch. A strange tension permeates from the start in this seemingly mundane scenario, and the audience is drawn into its irresistible allure. Soon, a series of revelations appear like little explosions, producing sequences that surprise not only with the trajectories of its narrative but also with the emotional depths it explores. This is a story about family dysfunction and love, told in the most honest way through two white male characters. The process of deconstructing these apathetic, unemotional archetypes involves the transgression of fundamental truths in family dynamics, resulting in a level of intense emotionality that any theatre-goer would relish.

Technical aspects of the production are highly accomplished. Every aspect is rendered virtually imperceptible to be in service to the actors and the story. Lighting design in particular is sensitive and meaningful, never drawing focus unto itself but always effectively assisting with the emotional fluctuations of the narrative.

Josh McConville plays Sean, with great internal fortitude. His depiction of a damaged, insecure man at the end of his tether is easily recognisable and indeed, heartbreaking. Even without the benefit of a filmic close-up, the audience is able to witness through his eyes, the inner devastation from which his character suffers.

One cannot overemphasize Colin Friels’ brilliance in the role of Roy. The psychological complexity that he brings to this man, is the crux of the show. All the contradictions of being human, and all the difficulty of life itself is displayed in his very corporeality. His mental jostles in dealing with the meaning of love, fleshes out for the audience the core concern of the script. Friels surprises with the amount of physical activity he introduces into his work, embellishing his lines with so much attention to gestural detail, which not only is a tremendous joy to watch but also amplifies beautifully the emotive qualities of the play.

In spite of a somewhat rushed and unexpected conclusion, Moving Parts is a great work that investigates the universal theme of family ties deeply and truthfully. Steve Rogers’ direction and David Nobay’s writing is a potent combination, creating theatre that is passionate and enthralling. Along with the best actors in the business, they have on their hands, something very memorable and actually, very moving.