To Dad With Love

A Tribute to a Beloved Father

Film review: Moonlight

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In an indelible scene near the opening of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight nine-year-old Chiron (Alex Hibbert) picks up a broken piece of glass on the floor of a derelict building where he is hiding from a group of bullying boys. As he holds the blood-stained fragment between his fingers, with looming consequences, Juan (Mahershala Ali), a local crack-dealer, who has seen then followed the predatory chase, bursts into the room through a boarded-up window.

Like sunshine upon the dark, lonely corner in which the child has been crouching, Juan coaxes him out with good humour and seeming kindness. Only, we don’t see the drug-boss try to pimp the vulnerable figure, whose wary eyes explain why he does not utter a word; instead, with his girlfriend, Teresa (Janelle Monae), through food and gentle-naturedness, Juan cajoles the boy to finally say his name and take him home.

The way tenderness is shone into a reality of violence and isolation says much about Moonlight, Jenkins’ second feature, based on an unpublished, semi-autobiographical account by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Segregated into three sections — Little, Chiron, Black — to reflect the nicknames given to the central character, the story follows a young African-American grappling with his identity and his sexuality while growing up in Miami, Florida.

And the protagonist is powerfully embodied by Hibbert, by Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes for each of the respective stage of his life: an adolescent, then a teenager, and an adult in his early 30s.

Moonlight sustains an exquisite balance between the horror and humanity existing in society’s underbelly. The actors wear their roles in superb performances devoid of exaggeration and stereotyping. Like no other film on black, gay America I can recall, it conveys with empathy the anguish suffered because of one’s nature, and the intense fragility of myriad bonds with nuance and discretion.

After their first encounter, Juan, despite hostility from Chiron’s single mother (Naomi Harris) — ironically hooked on cocaine he supplies — keeps up the relationship with the child. Learning to float and to swim in the ocean turns out to be, in effect, a lesson for Chiron from his mentor not only on how to survive in the unpredictable world, but also, more interestingly, to let go and be whom he is amid buffeting waves.

Tormented in school for being ‘soft’, and at home by a parent who resents his presence for getting in the way of her life, Chiron, now 16, in not wanting to bring trouble on the ever-generous Teresa (Juan, unseen, presumed dead) retreats deeper into his misery.

In one of the movie’s sexual sequences, remarkable in its subtlety and taste, filled with longing and reticence and apologies, the lanky introvert discovers his first physical awakening on the beach one night with Kevin (Jharrel Jerome), a childhood friend, who by calling him Black persuades Chiron to accept himself as he is, in a single frame that feels at once liberating and poignant. The sense of deep understanding and sharing is written in the air between their fingers lingering before they part.

Meeting up again after many years, having taken radically different paths, Kevin (played eventually by Andre Holland) is astounded at the gold-plated teeth and rippling muscles and smell of unclean money on the boy he thought he knew well, and Chiron, too, is surprised (if disappointed) at the person he’s all this time tucked away in a special place in his heart.

Yet behind all the awkwardness and ambivalence and artificial fronts, the feelings and magic prove to be very much alive.

“In moonlight black boys look blue,” says a young Kevin (Jaden Piner) early on in this Oscar winner that perceives the raw emotions brought out among blacks (as they do whites and browns and caramels) when no one is watching — although not before sunshine comes and warms up that dark, derelict corner.

Film review: Manchester by the Sea

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Arresting in its stillness, washed either in the liquid colours of sail and sky or in brooding winter greyness, Manchester by the Sea feels in many places like a gallery of photography exhibits. There is not a stir in the clouds nor movement in the waters. Boats moored at the dock appear as if they’ve been nailed to the air.

Set in the Massachusetts town where its small community is as intimate as the anchored skiffs, this poignant story follows Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a handyman, who while eking out an existence in Quincy, Boston returns home on the sudden death of his brother (Kyle Chandler), to find himself entrusted with the care of a 16-year-old nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

Imposed with this unexpected responsibility, Lee is drawn back to confront his own past, in which an excruciating  incident had created the very demons he has been wrestling with inside him ever since.

With grace and control Director Kenneth Lonergan tells in this, his third, feature an unseen emotional narrative, by interspersing flashbacks with present-day realities.

Like his basement apartment looking out on passing feet with three tile-sized windows Lee views the world through the prism of his ineradicable mistake. Affleck, hunched and stone-faced gives his character an inscrutable aloofness — uninterested in women, nor in life — that cracks on occasion into fistfuls of unjustified violence. With a convincing portrayal of somebody clearly intent on coping with new circumstances while all the time defeated in his personal battle, the BAFTA nominee wins hearts by droves.

Hedges, by the same token, wears his part with jaunty talent. Essentially still a child on the cusp of adulthood, Patrick astonishes with his worldly cynicism, is precocious, yet vulnerable. His best times with his uncle are spent fishing on his late father’s boat. When he silently smiles while holding the girlfriend with whom he has just made love after a day sailing in the sea, one wonders about the source of his satisfaction.

And aptly in Lonergan’s creation, men are not the only ones who struggle in their private lives. Here, everybody is flawed and women are just as incapable in their efforts at communication and managing their feelings.

As Lee’s former wife, Randi — a role curiously marginalised — Michelle Williams in grappling with grief and remorse delivers in a performance that is beyond reproach.

With Albinoni’s Adagio weaving through a sparkling screenplay the writing alludes more than once to the way that life, for all it throws at us, brings with it choices as well.

Manchester by the Sea is a film about the true grind of real living where subsequent to turbulent events people often find themselves caught up in an inner swell that rages wildly beneath a quiet surface.

Film review: Jackie

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In a poem Elizabeth Bishop says: the art of losing isn’t hard to master. But it seems the art of making a masterwork on loss may be harder than that. The mystery surrounding Jacqueline Kennedy, particularly her experience immediately following the assassination of her husband, whose broken head she cradled in her lap, has fascinated many for many years.

Here, director Pablo Larrain tells her story with his characteristic blend of melodrama and flourish. Jackie is unflinching, grave, empathetic, even if it anchors itself on a few known facts, and fills in the blanks with brazen imagination.

The American icon, famous for her couture and style, is played by Natalie Portman. It is in Hyannisport, Massachusetts  one week after the tragedy when we first meet her. She receives a journalist, Theodore White (Billy Crudup), through whom she is determined to define The Kennedy Legacy which others have begun to desecrate.

Time spools backward and we encounter her in the recognisable deep-pink suit, with black lapels, elegant beside President Kennedy greeting crowds in Dallas, Texas on the fateful day.

And, as the interview touches on the broadcast tour the First Lady conducted on national television, there is grainy footage of Jackie padding across the White House chambers inducting the country on refurbishments completed under her auspices.

As in his portrayal of poet Pablo Neruda in another biopic, Larrain’s approach is unpredictable: the plot is non-chronological but moves forth and back and farther back and forth into a heady, swirling whole.

Accompanied by the lustrous ache of Mica Levi’s music, scenes are shot in 16mm, and backdrops are wan, as if colours themselves have been washed away by shock. Jackie, however, is consistently cast as a bold, definitive presence, Portman’s lithe physique marking her in red or lime or black, like ink-stamp on onion-paper.

In an affecting sequence, at the end of her long journey alongside the casket back to Washington D.C., that offers a glimpse into Jackie’s rare moments of solitude, her husband’s blood runs off her hair under the shower down her naked back. The dramatisation is at once violent and calm.

Amid the confusion and trauma she is confronted by the harsh reality of having to vacate the premises without delay to make way for the new President.

With astuteness Larrain works in the solace from a handful of loyal supporters, not least Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard) and confidante Nancy (Greta Gerwig).

Yet, the Chilean filmmaker and his screenwriter Noah Oppenheim might have on occasion allowed their artistic licence to stray beyond the bounds of propriety: often one is led to muse upon whether the First Widow is grieving for the death of a spouse or of a lifestyle.

During a conversation her screen-depiction has with the priest (John Hurt, outstanding), Jackie reflects on whether her insistence on a grand funeral is in fact for her own vanity.

Jackie is, nevertheless, a worthy addition to movies of the genre for, if nothing else, Portman’s performance is sterling. Her Jackie is beautiful and brittle, volatile and vulnerable, a double portrait of a woman holding with both hands an illustrious name as she did the name’s ruptured skull. Only, despite her wish for the presidency to be remembered by Camelot — that ‘one brief, shining moment’ — nobody ought to second-guess the character behind the conundrum.

 

Film review: La La Land

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From the very first shot Damien Chazelle’s La La Land articulates through symbol after meaningful symbol: in a gridlock on the freeway to Los Angeles motorists get out of their cars and burst into a song-and-dance spectacle, creating magic in the traffic-jam of life, enroute to their dreams. We shall return to these same roads towards the end of the film, but the characters would come to decide on a detour; and much unfolds, meanwhile, in the snarl-ups within their stories to keep us riveted.

Separated into four inseparable sections, or weather seasons, to reflect the various states of a romantic affair, the tale details the fated encounter between an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a traditions-driven jazz pianist.

After an abrasive first meeting, as his classic convertible swerves past her Prius, the pair falls inexorably in love. Sebastian, now no longer a single man, signs up with a modern band (led by John Legend), despite reservations about their musical style, to fulfill what he believes to be Mia’s conventional expectations of him.

In this time, following repeated-failed casting auditions, Mia herself prepares to stage and perform in a one-person play she has written under Sebastian’s encouragement, that would turn out to be an unnerving experience leading to unforeseen circumstances.

The acting is beautiful in this second feature by Chazelle who shot to acclaim with Whiplash. The chemistry between Stone and Gosling is mystical in a wise, grownup, clear-eyed way.

In one scene, at the planetarium, Mia and Sebastian launch into a magnificent dance routine, suspended on air against a cosmic backdrop, revealing how they feel.

Stone, who has co-starred with Gosling on previous sets, uses her expressive eyes to surreal effect — when not conveying energy and wit then welling up with disappointments or disbelief — while Gosling cuts a deep and nuanced, soulful figure, one prepared to make sacrifices for the woman he loves. The atmosphere is steeped in maturity by way of suffering.

Justin Hurwitz’s original score (the theme track, in particular) is stirring, like the best kind of stillness, in which hidden emotions are brought to vivid life.

There have been criticisms of tremors in Stone’s singing voice and Gosling’s steps . But, to me, they only add to the movie’s ingenuous charm.

Of good, pure, unblemished jazz, Sebastian emphatically pronounces, “This is the dream, it’s conflict, and it’s compromise; it’s very, very exciting.” And that, in essence, sums up what this Golden Globe winner has to say about art and love, sums up what it has to say, really, about living, with its many detours and traffic-jams.

Film review: Nocturnal Animals

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Toggling between the breathtaking high-ceiling-and-glass architecture in Los Angeles and the dry, dusty Texan brushland Nocturnal Animals places art and life on a collision course, freighted with retaliation and regret.

It is the explicit imagery sparked on impact, however, that suffocates of nuance and enticing ambiguity this feature by Tom Ford.

Susan (Amy Adams), an accomplished gallery owner, receives the manuscript of a novel, entitled Nocturnal Animals, from her former spouse, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). With her current husband (Armie Hammer) on another alleged business trip, she starts to read the book.

Dramatising the written narrative Ford introduces us to Tony (also played by Gyllenhaal), a family man taking his wife (Isla Fisher) and daughter (Ellie Bamber) on a road-trip to Marfa, Texas.

As night falls the travellers find themselves accosted by a group of brutish young men who take away the women. Tony is abandoned among the white windswept grass and country ruin.

While she follows Tony in the quest to avenge his loss, Susan begins gradually to cast Edward as the protagonist, and herself and their (hers and Edward’s) never-born baby the wife and child forced from Tony — a reasonable premise given the way readers tend to people characters in fiction.

Intuitively photographed by Seamus McGarvey, who brings equal care to contrast the raw humanity in the printed tale and reality’s myriad absurdities, Tony goes on to reveal a strength he doubted he had, and within the sub-text Edward, too, demonstrates a resilience he was made to feel he did not have.

The film, adapted from Tony and Susan, a publication by Austin Wright, effects with deftness the journey after love is lost down the path of anguish. There is no distinction here from bereavement by death.

Long and lugubrious Nocturnal Animals, nevertheless, spells out its themes too extravagantly, that complex enigma essential for good cinema struggles for air. In one scene, as Susan stares up at a massive work of painting made up only of an arrangement of the letters R-E-V-E-N-G-E, you feel in one spectacular let-down to be watching a school drama.

Fortunately, Ford leaves the biggest conundrum unresolved. I like to think he acknowledges there is no clear answer whether vengeance is really the face of toughness, or a mask to hide weakness.

Film review: Doctor Strange

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A confounding study of supernatural powers and epic heroes, Doctor Strange explores, between scenes of the good fighting the bad, an abstract reasoning of time and a transcendental interpretation of life’s purpose.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon, brilliant, wealthy, arrogant. He is condescending towards colleagues, and holds but a vague flame for girlfriend Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), despite her devotion.

All he has accomplished is at once lost, however, when Strange meets with a tragic accident that leaves his hands wasted. After exhausting every scientific option to restore his physical disability, the shadow of the man journeys to Nepal where he ends up under the tutelage  of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), an unageing spiritual guide or cult leader or sorceress, who has apparently healed those incapable of being medically healed.

Only, Strange, having swapped surgical scrubs for long-flowing monastic robes, finds himself in confrontation with an erstwhile disciple of his newfound teacher, a disciple turned renegade, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson), who seeks to destroy the world.

It is a quirky tale, one that affirms the need to surrender to the current of an unseen energy to acquire mythical powers, one that depicts time in whose advance we age and die as the real enemy of the human race, that offers an enlightened (if romantic) meaning of existence.

In one sequence the astral being of The Ancient One tells Strange, her body languishing on the operating table, “It’s not about you” — suggesting one ought to live for others.

Throughout the film, director Scott Derrickson deploys a deft understanding of visual atmospherics: as Kaecilius — in working for the Dark Source to, in his words, defeat time — sets out to inflict carnage upon cities, skyscrapers and bridges and trees fold into the ground as paper does in origami; roads tear apart like old cloth by shears, beneath which rubble is regurgitated, as warriors traverse archways and mount stairs floating on air.

While this is impressive the inordinate attention on special effects hobbles the drama somewhat. We spend much of the 115-minute run watching the sophisticated battle between honour and malice, and this reduces the chance to develop more involvement in Strange’s character transformation or, indeed, metaphysical aspects of the story. The movie becomes little more than a venue to play out our childhood fantasies.

Fortunately, the portrayal of the Guru as less than a paragon of virtue adds a welcome layer of moral complexity to this action-toting adventure.

And a stellar cast handles the rolling masonry and defeated evils remarkably.

Ultimately, Doctor Strange is arresting and bullish and funny, albeit way too spectacular.

Film review: The Girl on the Train

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Inside The Girl on the Train, a taut psychological thriller involving homicide and alcoholism, is an excruciating drama in which the lives of three women are strung together in a singular experience, their desires and memories and hopes interwoven into a tapestry of indignation and strength.

Much of the precision is etched on the eloquent face of Emily Blunt who plays Rachel, 30-something, unable to control her drinking, and struggling, when we meet her, with a marital break-up.

Despite having lost her job, Rachel commutes each day to the city on a train that passes by a leafy suburb. Every day she rides on that train; and every day she finds herself observing a woman on a balcony facing the railway track. Together with the man of the house, they represent to Rachel “the embodiment of true love”.

Thing is, Rachel used to live two blocks away in a property where her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), is now raising a family with his new wife, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson).

Bruised still by the betrayal she suffered, Rachel is not only bitter but painfully self-righteous about conjugal fidelity. So, when she spies the object of her daily fixation kissing another lover on the porch, the inebriated loner decides to take it upon herself to right a potential wrong.

The next day a female resident of the area — Rachel learns that her name is Megan (Haley Bennett) — is reported to be missing. And soon, Megan’s half-decomposed body is found buried in the woods.

Based on a wildly popular novel by Paula Hawkins the film moves back and forth through different time-frames (six months ago, today, last Friday, one week ago, etc.) and dwells by turns upon the various perspectives of our three heroines.

Waking from a black-out with a bloodied temple in her bathroom, Rachel is nearly oblivious to what had transpired. She introduces herself to Megan’s husband, Scott (Luke Evans), with whom attempts are made to incriminate the paramour, Dr Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez), Megan’s psychotherapist — and her newest passion, or distraction. Meanwhile, living under a pall of unsolved crime, all the time trying to protect herself and her baby from what she perceives as constant harassment by Rachel, Anna becomes suspicious of Tom’s efforts to defend his former wife.

In a performance luminous against the complex web of suspense and intrigue, Blunt lets Rachel’s bewilderment and emptiness echo out of hollow eyes ringed in shadows of smudged mascara. Her wan complexion and crusty lips locate the self-doubt that grips one’s consciousness in the aftermath of a booze-infused episode.

Towards the end of the film, from Erin Cressida Wilson’s screenplay, directed by Tate Taylor, we are reminded of the ease with which manipulation could make its way through the sodden flesh of vulnerability.

But above all, The Girl on the Train, gives voice arguably to the often-unheard and presents it in the threads of a gauzy and radiant cinematic fabric.

“I am not the girl I used to be, ” thinks Rachel to herself at the movie’s close, and that same line has a significantly different meaning from when it was voiced-over at the picture’s start.

 

Theatre review: Parley!

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The meaning of the title is as ambiguous as its utterers’ anonymity. In Parley! Ant and Pea are lost at sea on a boat with a broken compass and no food. As hopes for a future fade in the salt-water air of desolation the duo annoy each other with failed attempts at getting along. Recrimination develops and, despite the proximity, there appears to be room for secrets that, even on unravelling, are desperately held through evasions.

Painful silences alternate with snatches of conciliation and delicate farce. Pea and Ant’s yearning and boredom and despair become increasingly more intense as mind and physical games play themselves out.

Harley Hefford’s staging of the piece by Elena Larkin and Rachael Basselink distils the superficial quality of the characters’ interactions by delineating outside and inner selves through the introduction of puppets fashioned in their likeness.

There are no doubt strong elements of Beckett’s Endgame and Waiting for Godot: clever paradoxes in deceptively imbecilic lines, chronic contemplation of death, slow burn of an excruciating relationship. We see the way in which wallowing in their own claustrophobia one can begin to lose memory and knowledge of the world around them.

Larkin and Basselink make a superb cast. Basselink’s Pea, while finding herself trapped in their predicament, insists on being dour in a state of limbo, refusing Ant’s overtures of intimacy, at the same time avoiding the reality of their fate. Larkin’s Ant, on the contrary, is more courageous and proactive, but for all her pragmatism she quickly reveals herself to be equally apprehensive.

With Georgia Symon’s dramaturgy, a surrealistic scene, where Pea and Ant in thrall to the vastness of the water and sound and weather, seemingly absorbed in a sense of wild bewilderment, is especially striking.

I have always observed one of the most delicious sounds in theatre to be silence among the audience. There are several instances in this hour-long production, however, when the stage is totally quiet while laughter rings out from those watching — at apparent absurdities.

Thing is, the play skewers us exquisitely; we are the real butt of the jokes: for, too often, we do not realise the inane things we engage in for a futile purpose.

Ultimately, this is an intelligent, poetic work that will prove timeless. Whatever the meaning of Parley! in this context it has the significance of every weighty word we know, like commitment, like separation.

Theatre review: Humpty Dumpty Daddy

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JC Person is no different from your usual idea of a dynamic millennial. In Joel Clapham’s unflinching performance at the centre of Humpty Dumpty Daddy, drawn from his true-life story, he is an intelligent, eloquent 34-year-old with an iPhone and a suave, captivating smile.

His mind, though, is somewhat more sombre. Newly separated from his wife, with three young children, plus the drudgery of a corporate identity, JC has been battling the black grip of mental depression, which, when one considers that his father had taken his own life at 35, is especially poignant.

Written and produced solely by Clapham the play gives us a theatrical version of the inside of JC’s head. We are invited into the cosy space at The Dock in Courthouse Hotel to be intimate witnesses of uncompromising pathos and a candour that startles and disarms.

We hear of (and agree with) the way a story-telling trait and scorching sense of humour seem to have passed down the generations: his balding paternal grandfather, Pop, told 5-year-old JC his hair had, in falling off his head, stuck to his ears and nostrils and chest where they now flourished.

In a calm, lucid tone, JC relates how he was not given the chance to restore with his father an old car that had been promised for his 18th birthday before his father, separated then from his mother, hung himself in the garage. Big and burly at 6ft 3in the older man, despite a mischievous quality, was never able to talk about his feelings or seek attention — something JC resolves not to emulate.

If his dad had taught him what not to do, his mum, on the contrary, has made him (and his two brothers) whom he is today: a good son, father, brother, uncle. Person. This heartfelt recognition is no doubt made more intense by JC’s role as a parent.

With overwhelming tenderness behind piercing eyes JC tells about his pride of being a father to his two sons and daughter, aged 8, 6 and 3, in which the underlying nature of the man comes shining through.

The young man reflects upon the challenges of fatherhood and the influences — positive and negative — parents have on impressionable lives.

It is a charming yet powerful watch, bravely and brilliantly delivered in an hour for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Woven through this very personal tale, too, are some deliciously memorable lines: recollecting the bubble-gum he and his brothers had given to their Pop they later found on his bed after he passed away, JC observes that even after somebody dies there exists physical and tangible evidence they keep on living by way of memory through those evidence.

Towards the end, one becomes acutely aware of the potential for history to repeat itself; after all, JC’s father was a single man when he suicided, probably suffered from mental health issues, had 3 kids, was also in his mid-30s.

Only, we have implicit faith in JC.

Men hide their emotions; they think them a weakness. But Clapham clearly knows that the showing of emotions is a strength. To do what he has done is a demonstration of incredible strength, incredible even for a woman.

Humpty Dumpty Daddy  is a fine work every man ought to see and every woman will appreciate.

Theatre review: Man of the Year

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Full marks to 5pound theatre for opening one of the first shows for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. And it does so with voluble vigour, packing significant moments in our history over 2,000 years on a stage hardly larger than a pocket-handkerchief.

Thanked for their presence the audience finds themselves as guests of a speaker: the eponymous Man of the title. Soon, around and about two lecterns, memorable speeches by some of the world’s most prominent leaders begin to roll off his tongue. The Man leaps from Abraham Lincoln to Adolf Hitler, swerves past Martin Luther King to Margaret Thatcher, not before meditating on Winston Churchill, then glides on to Saddam Hussein and Stan Grant, through Susan B Anthony and Julia Gillard and Paul Keating. It is minute after enthralling minute of stirring rhetoric and rousing statements.

And now and then, through the 50-minute, one-person show, like words coming out of the air, a woman’s voice emerges from behind the curtain, interjecting the Man’s breathless recitals, as if speaking our unheard thoughts: she chastises his method of delivering the message, she interrogates the direction of his articulations, she questions his right to those famous articulations.

Despite the occasional whimsy this is a decidedly intense work, paying tribute to — and criticisms of — revolutionary luminaries, on whom time has passed judgement that the theatre-makers are here inquiring. With perceptible reverence and sensitivity the play contemplates the motivations behind the gleam of eloquence and ramifications of persuasive oratory. It dwells upon the way violence can be justified and asks if the desire for power and influence might not have been the common fuel in the infernal belly.

Then the Man, half-way through the staging, transforms into a rogue performer, as he narrates the execution of his plan to take his listeners hostage. He imagines a locked door, police thumping on the other side, tying up a victim. For a moment, with a glass-case on the lectern displaying a gun, its label “Chekhov’s Gun” staring tellingly at us, one is made to feel appropriately uneasy.

Only, nothing happens.

Instead, we move on to hear about racial discrimination and gender inequality, and their injustices and danger. We realise that because of the reformer in Anthony there rose the Iron Lady. And even though he rattles away in German the pronouncements of Hitler with deep, sonorous, guttural vibrations, the Man disdains Hussein’s Arabic. These certainly bear repeating at a time when hard-right groups are again emerging across Europe (and Australia), when women continue to endure lower salaries, and ethnic tensions are high. That the theatre company has chosen Man of the Year rather than Person of the Year to be the name of their drama seems to echo those sentiments.

Tim Wotherspoon’s production handles the weighty considerations in the material with control. The illumination that almost every important event can be linked all the way back to the first ages is astounding. There is nice work from Sharon Davis whose Voice has an effect profound enough on the Man to suggest the world eventually gets what they deserve. Jason Cavanagh is tremendous as the Man; dressed in a tuxedo over pyjama trousers and bedroom slippers he brings conviction and sincerity and spirit to the part, showing how words can charm and frighten and churn hearts and shape stories.

Man of the Year has plenty to say and one hopes it will not be edited away from the dramatic scene, like Chekhov would recommend for the gun that never goes off.

 

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