22 January 2016 | 2:20 pm | James Daniel

"...a powerful, emotional, thought-provoking and stunningly performed piece of theatre."

Member is a powerful one-person play by accomplished performer Ben Noble.

The play uses first person storytelling to shed light on the violent surge of gay hate-crimes in Sydney in the '80s and '90s. The story we hear is from the mouth of Corey, a man struggling with cognitive dissonance: learned behaviour from a lifetime of homophobia, versus the reality of having a gay 17-year-old son. Sitting at the hospital bedside of his comatose child (who has been viciously bashed), we hear Corey's story — from his general homophobia and insensitivity as an adult, backwards all the way to his teenage years in a gang that hunted down and savagely beat gay men as sport. All of the hatred and anger in Corey's story is rolled up with softer elements — him as a gawky kid searching for a place to belong, the meeting of his eventual wife, the birth of his child, etc. — and performed with the perfect amount of tension-releasing humour.

Ben Noble delivers a stunning performance throughout, although it did feel under-rehearsed at times and the script probably needed a couple more drafts focusing on a more cohesive dramatic voice. Regardless, the raw and messy nature of the production was well suited to the story told and the production remains a powerful, emotional, thought-provoking and stunningly performed piece of theatre. 

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