Thursday, November 17, 2005


Serendipity in the form of a local Adelaide company cancelling its last show of the year opened up an unexpected opportunity earlier this month for Larrikin to bring to Adelaide the one-man show that had had Melbourne audiences queuing up: Chris Bunworth in Dina Ross's 'Trio'.

(That's Dina Ross the fortysomething Melbourne playwright, not Diana Ross the ex-Supreme.)

I'd not heard of this writer before and had managed to miss her contribution to the 'those nasty feminists wrecked my life' wave of codswallop that slopped over the press recently -- just as well, or I would have enjoyed the play a lot less than I did. But it was the best Australian play I've seen for ages, even counting being periodically if metaphorically bashed over the head by Stephen Sewell. Ross is an utterly different sort of writer, much more focused on character and interiority.

In 'Trio', a young Australian violin virtuoso is found dead in his hotel room in Vienna, and a year later the three main men in his life are getting ready to go to a memorial concert for him -- his New York Jewish agent, his ockerish twin brother and his bereaved lover. As they dress, they reminisce about the dead man and ponder the manner of his death, and in doing so they gradually reveal all kinds of things about themselves as well as about him.

Melbourne theatre critic Helen Thomson assumes in her review that his death was suicide, but I've got a theory that the ghost of Mendelssohn had a hand in it.

Bunworth spends an hour onstage doing a sort of slow reverse striptease with the accoutrements of male evening dress, morphing from one character to the next using only voice modification and body language -- and the script, of course. It's a virtuoso performance, but it's also firmly grounded in a superb bit of writing.

No comments: