[Theatre/Contemporary ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ SA]
The Arch at Holden Street Theatres, Wed 17 Feb.
A wide-eyed Australian young man, seemingly a tourist exploring Russia, expresses an interest in his tour guide and wonders if he is gay. Initially the play feels like it is simply going to be about a gay holiday romance. As the play develops however, we are taken deeper into the tour guide’s complex character and find out more about the harsh treatment of gay people under the Russian regime.
At this stage we might be thinking that the point of the play is to make a few political statements about the persecution of gays in Russia, with some comments about Australia’s human rights abuses thrown in, but the plot has many gripping twists and turns left yet. The Australian it seems has higher motives than merely seeking a fleeting relationship. The Russian is determined to take his new friend on a wild psychological ride. At the end we are left to guess which parts of the Russian’s story have been true and what will become of each of them.
Wil King is convincing as a slightly naïve but endearing Australian tourist. Angus Cameron’s script, however, gives Patrick Livesey more room to shine as he expresses the powerlessness of anyone, not just gays, who fall foul of the Russian government. He leads the Australian on a merry chase as his character swings from being mischievous to vulnerable to menacing and back again in rapid succession.
There are references to drug use and sexual activities in DIЯT, but the real seduction comes from the way we are taken out of our comfort zone and led into ever more dangerous territory. The tension builds as things progress, so that by the end we are on the edge of our chequerboard seat. If you are looking for a good thriller, turn off Netflix and take your friends to Holden Street Theatres!
Cathy Tune & Adrian Miller
DIЯT continues at The Arch at Holden Street Theatres, at various times, until Sun 21 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.