(Brisbane Arts Theatre)


“It’s about the drinking, the crowds…”

“It’s about the sex.”

Brisbane Arts Theatre runs through plays quicker than most and so it is no surprise that Blurred has been chosen to pack the theatre with a young audience (read school children and teachers). The decision is a good one and the theatre has illustrated that economics does not necessarily have to sacrifice quality.

Blurred takes a funny poke at Schoolies Week while tackling an arsenal of bigger issues. The setting is the Gold Coast and it is a schoolies tale that incorporates all the expected characters. There are the country yobs out to get pissed, the couple testing their relationship before the big week, the “post-modern nerds” trying not to be left out of the equation and the giggling girls, you guessed it giggling. There’s an “evil limo”, lots of beer, vomit and plenty of good advice: Live life now because “after 30 there’s only wisdom and jam making”.

It is a week that “promises to be exciting and unpredictable” and directors Michael Straight and Francesca Gasteen do well to compress both humour and tragedy into one short performance. Having already been performed on screen and at Festival Hall, Blurred meshes one scene into the next and the momentum of the performance carries itself into a nicely entwined story.

Lighting and set designers Casey Moon-Watton and Graham McKenzie have left a lot to the imagination. The stage has few props and no backdrop apart from a lone palm tree. Against this stark background the designers use a multi-media dimension at both the play’s start and finish. It is an odd decision for a plot that could have permitted alternatives, but one that seems to work nevertheless.

The Gold Coast is a week where older “toolies” prey on schoolies, binge drinking is rampant, friendships are dissolved, depression and theft is evident and boys, unfortunately, need to prove they are boys.

The directors fit a lot into a short play and, consequently, there is an element of unrealism and forced direction in some scenes. Luckily, a good script, organic scene changes and excellent timing by the cast make up for these faults.

Blurred’s program lists characters and actors, but characters’ names are not used in the play. This makes a reviewer’s job hard. Suffice to say the cast as a whole do well, and William McBride, Tom Stefanovic, Genvieve Trace, Belinda Raisin, Jessica Loudon, Jillian Wood, Stephen Smith, Thomas Cooper, Josh Stamp, Sam Hussey-Smith, Elizabeth Best, Matt Hogan and Sean Dennis make a fine troupe.

For a good laugh and an awkward cringe see Blurred.

— Pat Watson
(Performance seen: Tue 16th March 2004)