Review: A Girl With Sun In Her Eyes (Red Line Productions)

redlineVenue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), Oct 27 – Nov 14, 2015
Playwright: Joshua Rollins
Director: Andrew Henry
Cast: Martin Crewes, Kai Paynter, Gabrielle Rogers, Jeremy Waters, Kate Williams, Ezekiel Simat
Image by Vanessa Wright

Theatre review
Life is not a bed of roses. It is a hard fact to come to terms with, but we live with evil around us, and people make decisions everyday that cause harm to others. In Joshua Rollins’ A Girl With Sun In Her Eyes, we see law enforcers at work, and as they confront the darkest sides of human nature, what they reveal are some of the worst that we are capable of. The filmic script jumps between short scenes to concoct a sense of intrigue and to manufacture a plot that can be placed squarely in the suspense genre. Characters are not created with great complexity, but their narratives are strong. There are sequences that aim to shock, and even though they border on the exploitative, their effects are unquestionably powerful.

Director Andrew Henry focuses on bringing intensity to individual performances, but chemistry between actors is lacking. Leading man is the magnetic Jeremy Waters who puts on a very high energy show, but counterparts do not often meet on his level. The staging and interpretation of scenes are straightforward, with little theatricality involved. The choice for a naturalistic approach is logical, but it seems to prevent the exploration of its quite brutal themes to extend beyond the surface. The production’s literal spacial configurations also create issues with scene transitions requiring an excessive number of blackouts that inevitably cause dramatic tension to dissipate repeatedly. Sound and lights help with a sense of continuity, but the piece struggles to find a coherent and sophisticated theatrical realisation of the episodic writing.

A Girl With Sun In Her Eyes is deeply pessimistic, but its ugliness is recognisable. It exposes the duplicity that we all share, of the possibilities for good and bad that reside in all our decisions. We may not wish to acknowledge personal intentions as ever being purposely harmful, but there is no doubt that people around us act with less than honourable motives, and one can never be too careful about becoming entangled. Innocence is a beautiful thing, especially when out of reach.