Venue: The Depot Theatre (Marrickville NSW), May 4 – 8, 2016
Playwright: Charlie Falkner
Director: Michael Abercromby
Cast: Charlotte Devenport, Sam Delich, Charlie Falkner, Sam Davenport, Zoe Jensen
Image by Tom Cramond
Charlie Falkner’s Dirty People is a delightful romp about the selfie generation. Its dialogue is clever and idiosyncratic, with hints of originality that gives the work remarkable character. There are moments of self-conscious social commentary that attempt to add a sense of gravity, but Michael Abercromby’s direction is more memorable for astutely delivering every nuance of comedy discoverable in the script. Abercromby’s style is vibrant and adventurous, with an infectious sense of humour that ensures an enjoyable time in the theatre for all concerned.
Although slightly rough around the edges, the youthful ensemble performs the work with excellent conviction. Their presentation is well-rehearsed, and chemistry is strong in every scene. They craft distinct personalities that convey the plot effectively, each one bringing their own charm to the stage. As an actor, Falkner demonstrates good timing and creates a rich interpretation of his part using a wealth of unexpected subtleties. Sam Delich brings a broader approach to get the laughs, and proves himself to be an endearing presence in both his roles. There is a good sense of cohesion in the cast, which is a pleasant surprise considering the diverse comedic tones they each embody.
Although Dirty People misses the opportunity for a more critical take on the state of the world today, it offers effervescent entertainment that is often silly but never stupid. Its satire is fun-loving, and even though thoughtfully conceived, it does not burden us with the disappointments of real life that are its inspiration. The nature of people is full of dirt, but how we aspire to find grace and decency is the key to an enlightened existence.