Venue: SBW Stables Theatre (Darlinghurst NSW), Jan 30 – Feb 16, 2019
Playwrights: Georgie Adamson, Joshua Allen, Grace Chapple, Hannah Cockroft, Sasha Dyer, Meg Goodfellow, Flynn Hall, Jasper Lee—Lindsay, Brooke Murray, Emma Skalicky
Director: Sophie Kelly
Cast: Marvin Adler, Teodora Avramovic, Salem Barrett-Brown, Bebe Bettencourt, Toby Blume, Apsara Lindeman, Ryan Hodson, Kelly Nguyen, Grace Stamnas, Sophie Strykowski, Harry Winsome, Emma Wright
Images by Tracey Schramm
To arrive, implies a destination, an end to travels, but at the conclusion of every journey, if conclusions exist at all, are inevitable new beginnings. In Arrival, we witness young people undertaking an act of emergence, one that is propulsive rather than stagnant. Ten short plays present them as a force to be reckoned with, full of hope and exhilaration, in an event that will no doubt provide inspiration to the young and young-at-heart.
The material is light, almost blithe in attitude, that director Sophie Kelly uses to her advantage in cultivating an irresistible vivacity for a show that keeps us wanting more. Set design by Tyler Ray Hawkins is attractive and sophisticated, cleverly utilising abstract patterns to stoke our imagination. Martin Kinnane’s lights are called upon to inject drama, highly effective in enhancing all that the cast aim to unfurls on stage.
Performers Teodora Avramovic and Sophie Stykowski are especially memorable in Flynn Hall’s Fish Fingers, a cheeky piece about teenage masturbation and self-discovery in a carnal sense. The pair’s extraordinary chemistry, along with their confident timing, deliver some very big laughs, in a joyful display of promising new talent. Georgie Adamson’s Real Dry is a refreshing take on a classic lesbian story, featuring BeBe Bettencourt and Kelly Nguyen, who offer a sensitive and intelligent interpretation of girls experiencing crushes. It is noteworthy that queerness is represented beautifully in the production, to reflect a new evolution in the understanding of human sexuality that Sydney youth has so readily embraced.
We may not be able to find anything radical in these works, but the energy derived from each of these artists’ optimism is palpable. There is a quality of bravery that shines through, even if things can feel somewhat contained and safe. It is clear that our affluence in this lucky country compels an overprotection of ourselves, especially our young. Art, like most things of significance, can only be accomplished with risk, which is perhaps the hardest of all to teach.