Review: Tell Me Before The Sun Explodes (Rock Bottom Productions)

Venue: Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross NSW), May 4 – 14, 2022
Playwright: Jacob Parker
Director:
Hayden Tonazzi
Cast: Tim McGarry, Joshua Shediak
Images by Philip Erbacher

Theatre review
Even though Andrew and Chris are no longer lovers, their bond continues to be a strong and passionate one. In Jacob Parker’s Tell Me Before the Sun Explodes, we meet the couple at various points of their relationship, flashing back and forth in time, to observe how things change and how things stay the same. It is a portrait of rare intimacy, the kind of which any person would count themselves lucky to have experienced once in a lifetime.

Parker’s dialogue is witty and incisive, revealing an uncanny ability to observe the world with inordinate sensitivity. Director Hayden Tonazzi turns Parker’s words into 70 minutes of short, sharp scenes for which our minds race to put the pieces together, as our hearts feel the involuntary pull of Parker’s ephemerally meaningful musings on desire and death (a significant age gap exists between the characters).

The production feels poetic, with a pretty wistfulness that is quite charming in its delicacy. Soham Apte’s set design is an intriguing manifestation of what our emotions become, after years of wear and tear; it is ambitiously conceived, and accomplished with an admirable eye for detail. Lights by Ryan McDonald do the practical work of moving us through the linear and the circular dimensions of time, whilst keeping us connected to the heart of the story. Sound design by Chrysoulla Markoulli is stunning in its intricacy, and highly effective in guiding us through the complex and vacillating feelings that are being aroused.

Actor Tim McGarry delivers exceptional technical proficiency in the role of Andrew, with a performance memorable for its precision, both in terms of design and of implementation. As Chris, Joshua Shediak impresses with his presence and his authentic impulses. There is a clarity to his depictions that allow us to understand instinctively, the many internal fluctuations he goes through, so quickly yet so convincingly.

The wonder of love is that it feels eternal. The truth of it though, is that its beauty is completely contingent on the fact that nothing is forever. It is in the knowing that an end will come, that love becomes so precious, and so overwhelming in its allure. The threat of its absence can be so palpably harrowing, that it makes us invest in it, so unfathomably immensely. We are also capable however, of taking people for granted, of forgetting that all our human connections hang by a thread. The union of Andrew and Chris starts, and it ends. That inevitable conclusion only makes their time together even more special.

www.rockbottomproductions.com.au