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The Storm

By Liam Ormsby

Adelaide Fringe 2016, Queens Theatre

Director: Toby Rice

Cast: Joanne Hartstone, Chris Duncan & Georgie Pile

Nicole takes one long look around the ancient wooden house and exhales a long humid breath. How could someone just walk out on the person they’ve lived with their entire life without notice, without warning and then come here – the middle of nowhere? A low rumble is heard in the distance but only barely, her ears are yet to pop from the flight. She turns in time to see the clouds darken and double in speed as they roll towards her, blanketing the green dividing ranges in water. This had better not be for nothing she sighs. The sky groans in reply. She’s not in Melbourne anymore.

Written by Liam Ormsby and Directed by Toby Rice: the team behind the 2015 Adelaide Fringe award winning production Antillia. The Storm is a mature and humorous story about a father and his two daughters who, stuck in the oppressive Queensland tropics, find themselves confronting their own realities unaware of the storm that will soon envelop them.

 

Liam Ormsby has written a tight exploration of mental illness, neatly covering a range of examples without appearing contrived or sensational. The script crackles and hums and, though wordy, never bores.

Nicole, played by Joanne Hartstone, is the ‘sanest’ of three characters, though she hides borderline OCD and self-esteem issues. It’s a great performance marred only by excessively rapid-fire delivery which makes a lot of her lines unintelligible, particularly in scenes of hysteria.

Emma, played by Georgie Pile, is on medication following a relationship break-up and is not coping at all well. It’s another fine performance of subtlety and depth. Malcolm, played by Chris Duncan, is father to them both and suffers from an undiagnosed condition which makes him all the more vulnerable. It’s the third top-notch performance of the trio.

Director Toby Rice has created a memorable experience for Fringe-goers and should bask in the glow of having delivered another winner. Production values are high with some excellent lighting effects creating brilliant solutions to otherwise problematic settings. The soundscape of the storm of the title is first-rate.

This is great theatre and a credit to all concerned. Don’t miss it. Don’t.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
— Tony Busch, Adelaide Theatre Guide