'WHEN THE LIGHT LEAVES' THEATRE REVIEW

Delving into the abyss within

Leigh Scully as Liam (left), Tomas Parrish as Dan (right). Photography: Stu Brown

Love hurts. So does living and, inevitably, dying, particularly if you are suffering stage four terminal brain cancer, refuse treatment and still have a lot of desperate living to do. When the Light Leaves takes us on a frantic existential journey from gloomy twilight – a living nightmare where ghosts accompany us in a reality we would rather not be a part of – all the way to rapidly approaching darkness. In the shadowland of human despair recreated from a stage stripped bare of any props to speak of and containing the bare minimum, and that envelops all of us, hope, love and joy are but fleeting, momentary pleasures clung on to in the speedy leadup to early death with all the anguish that comes with it. Dan, the young man and sufferer around whom the human drama revolves, commands full stage presence from beginning to end. Plagued by constant festering thoughts, lingering questions that eat away at him and that are erratically repeated during key moments, and grotesque, feverish dream sequences where the skeleton with bones “scraping like teeth” is, ultimately, himself, Dan crumbles under the weight of his own suicidal mind. Going from lucid to lunatic, Dan the frustrated, exasperated, deeply worried and depressed could be each one of us during moments of extreme worry and desperation where we are engulfed by mental darkness while physically our bodies give way and become unrecognisable. Gasworks Theatre, aware of the universal value of this Kafkaesque play and the impact it will have on us, takes precautionary measures and forewarns us of strong and distressing themes prior to the play. This powerful performance in support of gay rights and where nothing is ever entirely black and white, sheds light, forces us to feel and become socio-politically engaged – and to, ultimately, act as humans.


Rating: 8/10


DETAILS

Dates: Wed 29 Jan - Sat 1 Feb 2020

Times: Wed/Thurs; 7.30pm, Fri/Sat; 9.30pm (Voluntary Assisted Dying forum follows Thursday performance)

Location: Gasworks Theatre - 1-35 Graham St, Albert Park VIC 3206

Duration: 70 mins, no interval Cost: Full $35, Conc $30, Groups 6+ $25, Gold Card $28, City of Port Phillip Locals Night (Wed 29 Jan) $30

Access: Wheelchair Accessible

Warnings: Recommended for audiences 18+: Coarse language, suicide references

Please note: This performance has a full lockout. Latecomers will not be admitted.


Bookings

Gasworks Website