Review: All Good Things (ATYP)

atypVenue: ATYP (Walsh Bay NSW), Feb 3 – 20, 2016
Playwrights: Michael J Cornford, Alberto Di Troia, Piri Eddy, Georgia Goode, Kirby Medway, Callum McLean, Gemma Neall, Rachel O’Regan, Morgan St. Clair, Ciella William
Director: Iain Sinclair
Cast: Simone Cheuanghane, Simon Croker, Martin Hoggart, Poppy Lynch, Moreblessing Maturure, Sarah Meacham, Alex Packard, Jonas Thompson, May Tran, Darius Williams
Image by Tracey Schramm

Theatre review (of a preview performance)
Ten short monologues are interwoven on an intimate stage, with ten young actors presenting a new generation’s perspective of where we are and where we are approaching. Through stories about adolescence, identity, sexuality and desire, we observe in All Good Things, the world’s evolution and we wonder about the things that change and those that remain the same. We conceive of the future as a time that will bear differences, yet human nature seems to be fundamentally immovable. The linearity of time misleads us into thinking that we leave everything behind, yet the truth seems to be that although we are ever-changing, we will never be anything other than human.

There is wonderful and starkly inspired writing to be found in this collection of plays. Each one individualistic, offering a wild range of styles and tones, from simple narratives that pack a punch, to poetic abstractions that affect with beguiling efficacy. Iain Sinclair’s direction provides an almost miraculous cohesion that allows us to absorb the fragments as a whole, manipulating our senses and emotions as though following a conventional theatrical plot. The format he creates attempts to bring an evenness to the disparate source material, but the more anecdotal pieces leave a greater impression. Callum Mclean’s Changing Room, Gemma Neall’s Jailbait and Morgan St. Clair’s Possession in particular, involving gender and strong sexuality, are captivating tales told intelligently.

The show features a talented and vibrant cast of youngsters from diverse ethnic backgrounds; a rainbow of skin and hair colours but all sharing a singular Australian-accented voice. Darius Williams is charming, confident and effortlessly engaging in the role of David in Piri Eddy’s Teeth. The wide range of emotion he portrays so convincingly, and his infectious humour make his performance a highlight of the production. In Rachel O’Regan’s Red Bull, May Tran depicts a girl cracking under the pressure of an examination, with marvellous precision and clarity. Poppy Lynch in Bright by Ciella William is daring, energetic and charismatic, and Jonas Thompson in Kirby Medway’s The Fuzz is a keen comedian with beautifully timed punchlines that any audience would find irresistible.

Through the wealth of talent on show here, we catch a glimpse of the things that really matter to our young artists. Not every work is deep or serious, but even when encountering moments of frivolity, we see honesty and commitment to their craft. The value of innocence has always been important in art, and on this occasion, we connect with that special quality that will always be rare in the oft too clever art form of theatre. Together with an excellent and thoughtful team of designers (Michael Toisuta’s sound design is stunning), Iain Sinclair has introduced a great deal of sophistication to the production, but the youthful effervescence of every artist is never subdued, and it is their idealism and their hopes that stay with us the strongest.