All The Rage

16 July 2012 | 12:40 pm | Dave Drayton

It starts with one of the most arresting opening scenes seen on Sydney stages this year – we're slapped in the face with the action, thrown in the thick of it, given just enough of a glimpse to try and get our bearings knowing full well that all too soon they'll be proven incorrect.

Populated with the kind of endearing anti-heroes that give a glimpse into crime's seedy yet oh-so-irresistibly watchable underbelly – think Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and the like – John Fraser's All The Rage couldn't be more timely. On a shallow stage that thrusts the black humour and interrogation of the play up against the audience (director/designer Leland Kean opts not to make use of the Old Fitz's unusual layout, instead allowing a simple set to house some not so simple action), we witness a terrorist attack on the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Or do we? It's not quite so clear. For one, the Irish accents employed by a very impressive cast are so good they require a few minutes of adjustment. Beyond that though, the razor sharp, witty and cynical script, and Kean's orchestration of the fast-paced hour-long show ensure that we never know who to trust. The balance power seems to be cast through an Escher drawing as, on a knife's edge – and against the clock – the four characters on stage rapidly take one step forward, two steps back and prepare for disaster.