Holden Street Theatres’ The Studio, Mon Mar 3.
Three young people share a flat and spend their days fantasizing about impossible worlds to fulfil a childish need for excitement and escape. Their general irresponsibility is carefully played out against their strange landlord, who has a habit of letting himself in to ‘collect the rent’ with increasing regularity. Quickly it is clear that Mr Stringer is crying out for company and the audience witnesses the cruelty with which these flatmates treat this obviously disturbed yet seemingly harmless fellow.
Human nature being what it is however, these moments provided for some great comedy, although the cringe-factor was never far away. It is with growing horror, then, that we also witness an escalation of action involving kidnapped dogs and suspect Sunday roasts.
As Stringer, Dave MacGillivray puts on a fabulous performance, drawing the audience in so that we feel sympathy for his character, only to shock us all when we eventually start to see him as something far more sinister than we could have imagined. Playing the three antagonists, Kat Jade, Emma Bargery and Tom Russell all have their moments, alternately brutal and disarmingly distraught at various times.
This confusing about-face of emotions signify the development of the farce into what becomes a new ‘reality’ for these fantasy driven young ‘adults’. Some punters may find the sudden shifts in characterisation a little jarring but this in itself highlights the cracks that Stringer ultimately exploits. The conclusion is indeed appalling in a dark, ominous kind of way.
The promo promises that Darkle will stay with you long after the Fringe has ended and this is probably quite accurate. The quality of the writing ensures that whilst one is left with more questions than answers, there is just enough narrative ‘meat’ to sate the appetite.
Rosie van Heerde
Darkle continues at Holden Street Theatres’ Studio until Sun Mar 8.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.