Theatre that makes you think
Susan Michaels, TheatreAlive
(An Arts Victoria Initiative)
October 9, 2006
You know you’ve had a good night at the theatre when you walk out the door at the end of the show and realise you’re seeing the world a little differently than before – and it’s changed your perspective for the better. Strong words, but that’s just how I feel after seeing Chasing Pegasus – A Play in Ten Chords tonight.
I didn’t know what to expect when my house mate and I rolled up to the Gasworks box office to buy our tickets. As I’m a recent arrival to Melbourne (via Sydney and London), people had warned me that Melbourne Fringe Festival shows were usually bizarre at best. But, a friend had seen this show on Tuesday and couldn’t stop talking about it, so we figured we’d go along to see what all the fuss was about. And I’m really glad we did.
I’m still processing the experience, but the strongest impression I have is how well-written the piece is. It’s the sort of work you’d expect to see at one of the professional theatre companies – there are so many layers to what was going on both in the text and on the stage with the actors. It basically tells the stories of 10 people, brought together at a book club meeting. While the treatment is very standard theatre, it absorbed me from start to finish – I couldn’t stop watching these people as they exposed their inner thoughts and feelings one by one.
The cast were all so good, its impossible to pick a favourite. They all held their own with the work and the characters were all so very different. It was such a strong cast – really great performances with a lot of depth. It was confronting, thought provoking and engaging. And there were plenty of laughs as well. It was a great balance and I have gained a great respect for the writer/director, Sally McLean and the talented cast she has assembled.
And the touch of having Ross Ryan perform his song I Am Pegasus at the end is a truly inspired move. It gave the finale of the play a real sense of closure and message. I was really impressed with the whole production.
I guess I wanted to write this review to say to others who might be wondering if they should see the show – do it. As someone who has seen a lot of theatre in various cities, I can tell you this play is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.