Review: Buried (The Old 505 Theatre)

Venue: Old 505 Theatre (Newtown NSW), Jan 17 – 27, 2018
Playwright: Xavier Coy
Director: Johann Walraven
Cast: Amelia Campbell, Tara Clark, Xavier Coy, Nicholas Denton
Image by Liam O’Keefe

Theatre review
The Sandpiper is the shorter of two plays by Xavier Coy, featured in Buried. Involving a psychotherapy session where things go awry, the piece is perhaps too conventionally structured, and too brief, resulting in a predictable story that proves anti-climactic. Much more substantial, and persuasive, is Smokin’ Joe, the second Buried play, dealing with class and masculinity in a typically Australian context. Its dialogue is fresh and playful, and its stakes are high, with challenging ideas and curious turns of events that keep us engaged.

Director Johann Walraven, too, invests more deeply into Smokin’ Joe, with nuance and complexities fleshed out effectively, to express the often hidden conundrums of being a man in Australia. Actor Nicholas Denton is captivating as Finn, humorous and exacting in his portrayal of a nineteen year-old discovering himself and finding his place in this often cruel world. Playwright Coy takes on the role of Dylan with admirable conviction and focus, to create a character that is at once familiar, and tenaciously intriguing.

There are secrets in Buried; things that people hide from others, and things that exist in plain sight but that are waiting to be named. Through art, talented individuals can identify the illusory and the elusive that swirl around us in the ether, and give them shape or form, so that we can gain a better understanding of what it is that we do and experience, as beings who walk this earth. It is a high calling, and the consequences are sacred.

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