Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Tinderbox - Review

Written by Alana Valentine, presented by Tredwood Productions 
Darlinghurst St Theatre, 4th-27th January, tickets from $33.00
Reviewed by Lana Hilton

Tinderbox is an amazing production which follows the intertwined lives of three very different people, connected by their contact with a physical and metaphoric fire. Through scenes and monologues Alana Valentine allows us to see the parallels between a burning, raging fire, and our own lives and relationships. Both can be burnt and damaged by accident, or on purpose.
Throughout the play the audience is confronted with the unfortunate tales of three characters who live in rural NSW. Each hastheir problems and is quite unusual. Alongside each story we are presented with historical facts about bushfires in Australia, and we learn the sad statistics of lives and property lost and the effect this has had on the land. This contrasting storyline forces you to consider your life and relationships, and note whether or not they too follow the patterns of fire.
The set design is sparse, uncomfortable and coupled with eerie spotlights and a soft glow against a smoky background, it as if you are thrust into a fire yourself, never quite knowing how to become untangled. Darlinghurst St Theatre is the perfect location for such a production, offering an intimate atmosphere for plays that project heavy emotion and leave the audience feeling breathless.
The three actors – Nastassja Djalog, Benjamin Ross and Alan Lovell - were undoubtedly 100% committed to their roles and at times I was gulping back tears as monologues conjured powerful, disturbing images in my mind. Each actor was focused, well-projected and utterly mesmerising. The vivid script made it a welcome piece to enjoy and I am sure the actors found it challenging enough to incite their brilliant performances.
The release of this production couldn’t have come at a better time, with our great, barren land currently being ravaged by fire and thousands of people being scarred emotionally and physically as each blaze takes its toll. Tinderbox is thought provoking in this sense, making you realise that the brutality of nature exists off the stage as well as on. And within and outside of ourselves.

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