Directed by Carissa Licciardello
Red Line Productions
Old Fitz Theatre
120 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo
Season: 4 - 12 August
In 2015 the Chinese government cleared out a village of 9000 people in order to create space to build the world's largest telescope. Why? To seek out evidence of extra terrestrial life, of course! Inspired by these real-life events, Brooke Robinson crafted The Telescope, appropriating the circumstances to an Australian setting and taking a comical (often absurdist) look at the response of an Australian family. Robinson's new play under Carissa Licciardello's direction is off-the-wall and brings the laughs, making for wonderful entertainment.
Tel Benjamin sets the tone of the performance as Daniel from the moment you enter the theatre. With an abundance of quirk, twitch and a resolute focus spiralling into complete obliviousness, his performance is highly engaging and vastly humorous. As we are introduced to the rest of the family, it is clear that Licciardello has pushed the actors into an outlandish realm that is very funny. Alison Chambers and Nicholas Papademetriou as Jane and Gil amp things up even further assuring the piece’s status in absurdist territory. The family’s interactions are energetic and snappy, being a tight work that is able to crescendo, in line with the amplifying laughter in the audience. Lenny’s entrance (Cecilia Morrow) to the scene after being away from home for a week to politically campaign against the community’s forced removal provides an amusing comparison as a voice of reason amongst her rather unreasonable family. As the rest of the family plots to split up the compensation money and pursue their dreams individually, fragmenting the family unit, Lenny clings to the stable and banal comfort of the family home.
As the government makes outrageous policy decisions, this family runs with the opportunity to make outrageous life decisions of their own. And yet, considering these decisions are in line with each member’s dreams and desires, are they really so ridiculous? Perhaps the work could be a challenge to each of us, generally choosing to remain in the way things are usually done and life is usually lived. Perhaps this boldness could take us to unchartered territory in our life…but regardless what you take from the show, it sure is good fun.