THEATRE REVIEW: With the Dark

Eagle's Nest Theatre have done it again, with a series of four new pieces opening this week at Northcote Town Hall.
THEATRE REVIEW: With the Dark
Eagle's Nest Theatre have done it again, with a series of four new pieces opening this week at Northcote Town Hall. Aimed at emerging artists, the series is headlined by founder James Adler's new work, With the Dark. Experimental, strange and amusing, the piece follows the story of a struggling writer on a journey through the recesses of his own mind. Rosemary Johns has made the piece intriguing and visually attractive, tackling a surreal script with a strangely sparse stage covered (by the end of the show) in paper and plenty of gymnastically physical theatre. With strong characterisation, her approach makes the audience comfortable and engaged with an unfamiliar theatrical form. Adler's script is strong, but suffers somewhat from a lack of foreshadowing, with some seemingly 'obvious' connections left unresolved – a difficult situation for a script already taken out of their comfort zone. His command of dialogue is obvious, 'though, with clever lines appearing at regular intervals. The piece also seems to be unaware of its target audience, with a blend of adult themes and childlike stories without strong blending of the two. The cast were strong, if somewhat hamstrung by the incredibly strongly stereotyped characters, making their performances tread the line between serious theatre and farce. A push into more farcical presentation felt appropriate, given the material, and I would be interested to see a different treatment in the future. With the Dark is a fun, amusing and intriguingly internal hour of theatre. A great cast and some great ideas from an established Melbourne writer come together for a worthwhile piece of Melbourne entertainment. With the Dark and the Eagle's Nest Emerging Artists Program run for two weeks. With the Dark Eagle's Nest Theatre 24 February - 7 March

David Allen

Wednesday 25 February, 2009

About the author

David Allen is an editorial contributor for ArtsHub.