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Ride & Fourplay

16 September 2015 | 3:26 pm | Sean Maroney

"Enmeshed in contemporary urban life, full of misunderstood affairs and drunken one-nighters."

This double-bill is faultless. Director Anthony Skuse and crew have delivered a theatrical treat to Sydney. Ride and Fourplay, both by Jane Bodie, former head of scriptwriting at NIDA, negotiate utterly human storylines. Enmeshed in contemporary urban life, full of misunderstood affairs and drunken one-nighters, these two plays sing "now". And the voices that sing them are of humbling talent. Emma Palmer and Gabrielle Scawthorn stole the night. It's a unique phenomenon to experience so intimately characters so familiar and yet entirely different and entirely real. Without caricature or melodrama, these women performed, no, these actresses became other people. Emma Palmer became the embarrassed party in the one-night stand and then the sensuous adulterer. Scawthorn embodied the spine-chilling journey of watching her partner drift into infidelity. If these superb performances were the only reason to come, it would be enough. That would, however, neglect the men, Tom O'Sullivan and Aaron Glenane. O'Sullivan's stage presence is rare and Glenane's caricature Jack aptly dissolved into a man worthy of the audience's sentiment.

Skuse's set involved a kind of trapezoidal mini-monolith that thrust the audience up from the stage in a diagonal to great effect. This brought poignancy to the space and familiarity to the action, especially when it came to Fourplay. Four actors and not a single prop to interact with. Red-hot energy coursed between powerful players inside the exciting Darlinghurst Theatre.

The set is dramatic, the scripts are relevant, the performances are genuine. This is the best serious theatre I've seen in Sydney this year.

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