drive and smoke

‘Drive’ and ‘Smoke’ are two original plays by Clare Talbot and Jordan Holloway. They are hosted by the respected Hand in Hand Theatre as part of their 2018 Season. The premieres of these shows can be seen at Studio 411, in the grounds of Murdoch University near car park 4. The Double-Bill, which is suitable for adults, is playing for three nights only, 22nd March – 24th March, with curtain up at 7.00 pm on each evening. The technicians for both shows were Lighting Design and Operator, Nina Gee, with some subtle effects. The Sound Design and Operator was Jordan Baynes who had some quality, understated sound effects and accurate sound cues.

‘DRIVE’ (15-minutes) was cleverly written by Clare Talbot, who as well as being a playwright is well-versed in all the aspects of theatre life. Scene: Late evening. The two front seats of a car. Set: Two wooden chairs. Both plays were capably Stage Managed by Jess Hooper and Tijana Simich

An elderly lady (Claire Mosel-Crossley) appears to be very nervous and upset as she settles down in the driver’s seat of the family car, about to begin a journey. However, she has a very close and trusty friend (Xarna Rappold) for support.

In a short play such as this one, it is very difficult to build up tension or a meaningful relationship, but Clare Talbot – as writer and director – has succeeded very well. The storyline was succinct and challenging. Although I do not like having a story spelled out or over-explained, I did find this one a little too enigmatic. Two sensitive performances, one showing dominance, with the other insecurity and anxiety. The dialogue was astute and perfectly presented by the performers. Faced with a minimal set and with very little room to present ‘action’, the director, Clare Talbot has still managed to achieve a great deal of movement. One minor weakness, the old lady’s makeup was a touch basic.

‘SMOKE’ (35-minutes), was written by Jordan Holloway, who has invited us to experience love, life and trauma in a family. The scene: The living room in a family home. The set: An artist’s easel – covered with a cloth. An audio system. A large sofa and coffee table.

A young woman, Kate (Stephanie Beckham) is tidying the house when there is a heavy battering on the front door. It is her step-brother, Evan (Jacob Wehr Murphy) who is livid. After a busy day at work he has had to battle his way through the traffic. Evan and Kate are very close, but when their Dad dies, Kate refuses to go to the funeral. Why?

In plays directed by their writers, often the depth of the story is not fully explained to the actors and the story loses its punch. However, both of these directors have translated their stories from their minds to the stage terrifically. The audience was rapidly drawn into the various situations. With some very skilful writing, Jordan and his co-director Sarah Mischa Huang took us through the elation, depression, love and anger of both characters with superbly written, true-to-life dialogue. The highly experienced Production Manager and Set Designer, Justin Mosel-Crossley has a decade of theatre under his belt. Having been a theatre technician at Nexus, Justin is now helping Perth’s major theatre company, Black Swan State Theatre with their education and communications section. Justin has been assisted in this production by Rhiannon Moon. Two brief shows, but both of memorable quality. Very well received by an enthusiastic audience.