[THEATRE ~ AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE ~ GBR]
Holden St Theatre – The Arch. Thu 14 Feb.
Henry Naylor writes thoughtful quality scripts that leave the audience pondering the choices they would make if they were in the character’s situation. His latest play ‘Games’ is no exception. Fresh from an award winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe this production by Gilded Balloon and Redbeard Theatre is not as emotionally draining as previous plays such as Angel but it is beautifully crafted and nicely nuanced all the same.
Games examines the stories of two female Jewish athletes competing in the 1936 Olympic Games. Based on true events Naylor does so much more than present a documentary retelling of these women’s stories. Swapping the narrative between the two actors, Naylor’s script teases out the fine line between winning and losing, the fleeting nature of fame and the destructive nature of demonising others by putting labels on them. These are personal stories with global messages. Without labouring the point, Naylor’s script suggests that the loss of control experienced by these women so easily happens in current times.
Tessie Orange-Turner is excellent as Gretel Bergmann, a hot headed high jumper. She conveys energy and righteous anger with conviction. Sophie Shad as Helene Mayer puts in a controlled and sharp performance showing the steely tunnel vision of an elite and feted athlete who doesn’t know what to do with the political mantle others want to foist on her.
The simplicity of the set and staging works well – never detracting from the two performers who take it in turns to do a monologue. But it is the scenes where the two characters meet that are the most captivating and where Naylor challenges the audience to think about the masks humans slip into to hide the reality confronting them.
Henry Naylor has once again turned in a compelling and accomplished play, well cast, and definitely worthy of your investigation.
Games By Henry Naylor continues at Holden Street Theatres – The Arch, at various times, until Sat 16 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.