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Good Works

10 November 2015 | 1:30 pm | Sean Maroney

"A piece of truly unique theatre."

Nick Enright's Good Works is an ambitious modern Australian epic that sings across time and space. It is a harmony of pain, abuse and love in many forms. Disposing of linearity, the audience is ushered forward through fragmented stories, each one refracted through the different voices on stage. It is compelling, sincere, full of heart and ready to hurt. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; Enright asks us to consider what road we're on and what it's made of.

Director Iain Sinclair has grappled with this epic and come out victorious and graceful. The split timelines are negotiated through subtle changes in the actors' smiles, their eyes, or the way they carry themselves. The children and adults embody their past and future selves at all moments. A glint in the eye in one is transcribed into the glint of the knife in another. This tremendous feat is executed by Toni Scanlan, Taylor Ferguson, Stephen Multari, Jamie Oxenbould, Anthony Gooley and Lucy Goleby. The ensemble's members are bold yet fragile, each ready to take their own, each vulnerable to be undercut by everything they hold dear. It was a pleasure to see such performances.

The set design from Hugh O'Connor is as ambitious as the story. Levelled platforms frame the stage, which serve as pillars of storytelling. A man with a belt is silhouetted upstage-centre, high above us: powerful, terrible. A snowglobe glows near the audience's feet.

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Good Works is challenging in form and content. It grabs Catholic Australia by the balls and asks it to look at itself. However, it's lyrical, and resonates optimism. A piece of truly unique theatre.