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Wrath

15 March 2019 | 10:40 am | Sean Maroney

"Wrath is a heady, sharp delight, and a beautiful flex of indie theatre’s best muscles."

Dive into a fast-paced, high stakes psychological-thriller-comedy.

That’s a lot of hyphens for a first line. But Wrath is a lot. It’s a lot of laughs, a lot of punches thrown, and a lot of hits landed.

Henry (Adam Sollis) is a newbie in the world of business. He is misnamed Michael a few times by Eric (Jonny Hawkins) and Daphne (Elle Mickel). It’s his first day, they’re better than him, and he might as well be interchangeable with a whole rack of white shirts. The CEO Ms Stockwood (Madeleine Vizard) treats him like a bit of food stuck between her teeth. The game played on the stage is one of power and absurdity. It is a hyper-satire of the corporate ladder and getting ahead.

The piece drives upward with its founding catalyst for drama: a pube found on the boardroom table. From hereon in, an already heightened energy and cast rocket skywards. And it’s funny as all hell.

Sam Maguire’s sound design mandates a mention, especially for its role in the play’s arc. It begins to scream farce before turning to absurd post-capitalist meltdown. Google the 2016 Doom soundtrack and Grimes’ We Appreciate Power, then imagine a big red wash over the Kings Cross Hotel’s traverse space. Glorious.

Writer and director Liam Maguire and the rest of the team have made something pretty awesome to see on a Sydney stage. Wrath is expertly designed and directed. What’s most fascinating about the piece is its boldness with technical experimentation and confidence in craft amid hilarious millennial absurdity. The brilliant red carpet that furnishes the boardroom is taken apart square by square in rapid scene changes – surprising and wonderful. Punchlines run throughout the script, physical direction, actors’ choices, and even in scene transitions. (It’s worth seeing this production just to see the moment punctuated by a swinging light – we can’t spoil it by saying more here).

The acting too, is unanimously strong. Adam Sollis manages the straight role to a tee. You can’t take your eyes off Elle Mickel or Amy Hack as they relish playing off each other and the audience. Unexpected guffaws and giggles fill the space from top to tail.

One underdeveloped component from what is 65 minutes of polished, proficient, and exciting new theatre is the development of character. The veneer of hierarchy and powerbroking is clear. The precise motivations for each character and justification for the height of the stakes is muddy. Tweaking this might ensure that the production, rocketing skywards, lands smack-bang on the moon. 

Wrath is a heady, sharp delight, and a beautiful flex of indie theatre’s best muscles.