Directed by Lucy Clements
New Ghosts Theatre Company
Old Fitz Theatre
129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo
Season: 2 – 12 August
Sometimes love for another person can be inexplicable, and completely foreign to the depictions we see in pop culture. Fracture examines the confounding phenomenon when love persists in spite of all else crumbling from the inside out. Is there ever an escape? How does love become fettered with vice, in place of virtue? Written and directed by Lucy Clements and featuring a starlight cast, Fracture is a show that is engaging throughout and harrowing in its dealing with human emotion at a point of crisis.
The play asks, what lies do we tell ourselves to make our lives easier to live? Sometimes we can convince ourselves so thoroughly of these lies that they almost become truths in their own right – or at least a blur between actuality and fiction. Initially I felt like the dialogue flowed a little too predictably, like I could pre-empt the next intonation and word. However as the play progressed, any predictions had to be set aside and I was kept guessing. Brandon McClelland is a devastating force as Charlie, rupturing under both psychological and external pressure. He traverses gritty emotional depths, consumed in a depression that feels claustrophobic in the tight Old Fitz theatre space. In saying this, he doesn’t gloss over the layered ordeal for a person dealing with mental illness, acknowledging the varying nature of the experience. It’s a moving performance, indeed. Kate Cheel manages to play Grace without making moral judgements as an actor. This cleverly feeds into the hazy ambiguity of the circumstances, especially concerning her character. Contessa Treffone and Tel Benjamin complement each other finely as Clara and Tommy, in their juxtaposed methods in supporting Charlie in his ragged state. Treffone is warm and embracing, yet never neglects her somewhat motherly duties in the house, in a matron-like manner. Benjamin scouts out opportunity for comedy in the work with pleasing success.
Clements’ text is immensely clever, sly in its use of subtle clues that can only be pieced together at the show’s conclusion. It’s a rare combination to actually see play out on stage whereby the script’s writer is also able to direct the show, and Clements smashes out both roles with flair and apparent ease. Talk about multi-talented.
The love in the play seems closely knit with the image of water used – it can be critically life-sustaining, or it can be used to suffocate, to envelop, to destroy. Clements’ work refrains from moral judgements in the way that the result of loving someone is neither inherently good, nor bad. Diving headlong into the messy boundaries of moral integrity and turpitude, Fracture engages with the human inability to distinguish between the two. It’s a fascinating world, and a little frightening – get ready to explore.