Originally published in RIP IT UP
Nick Enright’s 1995 play Blackrock is revived in this year’s Fringe by ACJ Productions. The play, exploring the attitudes towards a young girl’s rape and murder in a small town, is meaty stuff for the young cast and crew. This is a nicely-timed production with a black heart.
Dana Cropley’s direction works well in cementing the cast together. However, for a play with so many short scenes, the quick gaps of darkness in-between only serve to jolt the audience out of the story several times over. The cast are uniformly good, with Brittany Matters as Cherie being the clear stand-out. She gives a nuanced performance, making the most of her character. Amy Bower and Christina Devetzidis are also give fine performances as Tiffany and Rachel respectively.
It is good to see youth engaging with these themes, however at times in this production it does not seem to ring true with the cast. The cause of this lies with the text, which is obviously dated and does not reflect how cultures of male “mateship” and victim blaming work in the lives of modern young adults. This is not a flaw in Enright’s script, which is very much part of the hyper-realistic plays of 90s Australian theatre. This production is a good effort from a young cast and crew. But, underneath it, there is a nagging feeling that actually they could have written something far better – not to mention relevant – themselves.
Rating: 3 stars