‘Behind the Wheel’ is a well-written, confidently developed and thought-provoking drama for adults by Travis Koch an ambitious writer who is filled with drive. Travis is studying a Bachelor of Theatre Arts at Curtin University.
This moving 45-minute play can be seen nightly at 7.00 pm until Sunday 14th February.
It is being performed in the new intimate but fully equipped Theatre Two in the Hayman Theatre complex in Building 302, Curtin University, best to enter off Manning Road, Bentley.
The scenes: A public bar. and the lounge area in two different houses.
The set: Good set design by Shelby McKenzie. The compound set had a small public bar, with counter and table and chairs. Rear centrally was a domestic kitchen breakfast bar/ counter then a lounge area with settee.
The set was fully furnished and looked lived-in thanks to the props by Rachel Abelha and her assistant Tiahna McBride.
The imaginative lighting design was by Chloe Palliser. Lights and sound operator was Dominique Duvall who was also the stage manager.
Emma (Pauline Rosman) is trying to read a message in the kitchen but her eyes are giving her major problems. She is not hungover but she has been very tired for some time. Her husband Scott (Samuel Addison) is a shift-working labourer and being tired is not too worried about her, virtually telling her to sort herself out. When Emma’s legs start to fail then a myelination disease is diagnosed.
Her best friend Jess (Kiri Siva) and her partner Aidan (Elijah Thomas) help Emma cope as her illness goes from bad to worse, but will Scott face up to his responsibilities as a husband?
The writer has researched the three or four central points of the storyline professionally and accurately. Described as a dark comedy, I think I would have called it simply ‘dark’, a little bit more lightness would have been good. Scenes involving arguments require good voice control otherwise the script becomes gabbled. These actors were all superb, but occasionally a little better pacing and enunciation would be great.
The writer was also the director, often risky with comparative beginners but Travis had obviously communicated well with his cast and they gave excellent performances. There was very good chemistry between the whole cast. Pauline was very convincing as an MS sufferer, Kiri normally uses her theatrical skill in the costume department or off stage but here she gave a wonderful performance as the sweet-faced, smiling stirring bitch of a friend. Samuel had attitude and Elijah plenty of positive bounce. A great cast.