Dolores at The Old Fitz Theatre is the most fulfilling 45 minutes of theatre you can get in Sydney right now. Edward Allan Baker’s script and Red Line Productions’ premiere offering is so tantalizing and so well book-ended that one act is enough. There’s no need for a three-hour theatre outing; you’re completely fulfilled with three quarters of an hour.
When a beaten woman lands on the doorstep of her sister’s house, neither want to fully acknowledge the engulfing pain domestic violence has caused in both their lives. The emotional and physical dilapidation of two beautiful souls is difficult but important to watch. How can their husbands be so cruel? Why is domestic violence still so prevalent in society? Baker’s play is set in Rhode Island 1984 but it may as well be a case study of Darlinghurst 2015.
What makes this project sing is the cast. From the moment Kate Box’s Dolores enters the stage there is an authenticity about her – you can’t take your eyes off her for the rest of the show. She’s so easy to watch because her character is alive and breathing every moment – there isn’t a moment she drops the ball. Box is a brilliant, detailed, electrifying actress.
Janine Watson’s Sandra does well, too, particularly in the opening moments of the play where she indulges in a cigarette, Coke and a bit of Dusty Springfield.
Orphans‘ set and lighting plot is perfect atmosphere for Dolores (the Late Night Show offering, starting at 9:45pm directly after Orphans which starts at 7:30pm).
The direction (not credited – and a mish mash of multiple sources) is defined and meaningful – particularly seen in the cleverness of props to constantly give characters ‘doings’ rather than sitting around a table talking at each other.
Nothing but high praise for Dolores at The Old Fitz – a thoughtful, pacey and well-crafted script, captivating performances by Box and Watson, and clear, direct and poignant creative production. Highly recommended.