Review: Darkness (The Library)

Venue: The Library (Newtown NSW), Jan 10 – Feb 19, 2023
Playwrights: Andrew Bovell, Zoey Dawson, Dan Giovannoni, Megan Wilding
Director: Dino Dimitriadis
Cast: Caroline L. George, Zoran Jevtic, Jerome Meyer, Imogen Sage, Alec Snow, Drew Wilson
Images by Phil Erbacher

Theatre review

Hopelessness fills the house, in which 5 characters dwell. Misery has seeped in from without, and the despondent personalities are lashing out on one another. They tell stories of loss, regret and forlornness, but there is little sympathy to be gained from people consumed with their own anguish. Darkness by Andrew Bovell, Zoey Dawson, Dan Giovannoni and Megan Wilding attempts to be a coherent effort, but delivers instead something decidedly fractured and erratic. Its narratives are uninspiring, and relationships flimsily rendered. In efforts to create something stylistically cohesive, it may seem that the crucial ingredients of heart and soul have gone missing from the writing process.

Other elements of the show however, are wonderfully assembled. Set and costumes are sexy and mysterious, creatively imagined by Isabel Hudson whose transformation of space for the old building, proves a real triumph. Lights by Benjamin Brockman are full of impact, with a sense of playfulness that prevents the bleakness of Darkness from turning dreary. Sound design by Danni Esposito envelopes our bodies, to turn our experience of atmosphere from subconscious to palpable, in a show directed by Dino Dimitriadis, that although fumbles with its stories, cannot be denied for being able to do magical things with space.

Performers Caroline L. George, Zoran Jevtic, Jerome Meyer, Imogen Sage and Alec Snow demonstrate strong commitment to their parts, able to convey intensity, even if helping us connect with the material seems a thankless task. Darkness attempts to manifest a sense of the apocalyptic, with all its mesmerising theatrics, but it is no match for the real world horrors that await us outside the auditorium. Artists will always try to represent devastating aspects of existence; that may even be considered their most noble purpose, but to find resonance for something humans know at the deepest instinctual levels, will forever be a challenge.