‘The Gospel according To Seth’ is the latest offering from the prolific Scott McArdle. Being a young playwright, Scott is wisely trying and testing all the genres and writing styles whilst at Murdoch University. This strange and complex play has many genres within its pages, perhaps a few too many to comprehend in one sitting.
This 150-minute production ran for three nights until 26th September, at the refurbished Studio 411 on the Murdoch campus on South Street, near car park 4.
The scene is an interrogation room in an American police station where the female officer, Sarah Stein (Nicola Brescianini) is giving the quaking prisoner, Seth (Scott McArdle) a rough time. During the interrogation, Seth’s ex-wife, Grace (Kaitlyn Barry) appeared declaring that she was God. One of her crucified followers, Herman (Eamonn Skov – great) declared how happy he was to be one of her sacrifices. Then there was Seth’s sister (Shannon Rogers), the mad detective, Gabe (Rhys Hyatt) and Hodge Podge (Rhianna Hall). I may have got various characters mixed up – but who cares? I don’t.
The director, Andrew Dawson, has done a fine job of leading this talented team through this multifarious maze of words and situations. Aiden Willoughby’s musical backing was beautiful, but too loud so became invasive, and really quite unnecessary, especially during the interrogation scene. Scott and Sarah Bond’s lighting was clever, selective and with the well positioned lamps, captured the mood well.
I don’t believe that an audience should be spoon fed, but made to ponder on various aspects. Nor should they be required to have to carry out a PhD research to understand the story. The public go to the theatre to be entertained, rarely to admire the writer’s work. If the cast are exceptional, all well and good, but the major reason for their presence is to have a good night of fun, or to have an emotion stimulated. I think that 150 minutes of asking, ‘what the hell is going on?’ and then leaving not much more informed is not what the audience is looking for.
On ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ a woman had a 4-foot model of Buckingham Palace made by her father from 500,000 matchsticks. It took him 5 years to make, and was immaculate in every detail. The antique expert asked ‘Why?’ and said that despite the obvious talent and hard work it would be lucky to get $400 as no one other that the family would want it.
So sorry Scott, you have a matchstick model. A huge amount of work, a brilliant cast (9 out of 10) and technically on the ball (7 out of 10) – but you have to ask – ‘why?’
I lost part of my life, and at my age I need all I can get.