The Blue Room in Perth gives voice to emerging creative talent and allows independent theatre artists to get their work seen. Lucy Clements is using the space to her advantage and makes an impressive debut as a playwright with Fracture, a short play that showcases her burgeoning skill for dissecting the human condition. Directed by the multifaceted and much-acclaimed Joe Lui, Fracture dramatises the undoing of relationships and soundness of mind when tragedy strikes and grief overwhelms.
A brilliantly devised set in a confined space (designed by Patrick Howe) allows the audience to intimately share the lives of four characters from two sides. The lead male character Charlie, played by Paul Grabovac is already on set asleep on a couch when the audience enters the room and it clear from the opening moments that all is not well with him as he jolts awake from a bad dream. These nightmares recur throughout the play and clearly relate to a tragic past event. Roommates Clara and Tommy comfort and cajole Charlie in turn in an attempt to support him and help him to cope. The arrival of Charlie’s ex-lover, Grace is the catalyst for heightened turmoil and a painful examination of the truth.
Paul Grabovac is a fine actor but he is not stretched to his full creative capacity in this part. He nonetheless puts in a solid performance as the central figure, exuding raw emotion and a palpable sadness that finds empathy with the audience. Mikala Westall who plays roommate Clara has a wonderfully natural acting style that makes her very watchable and authentic. There is real stage chemistry between Charlie and Clara. Not so with Charlie and Grace, even though the closeness of their relationship is central to the story. It is perhaps difficult for a young artist to exude the depth of emotions required for the play’s dark themes and Salacia Briggs, who plays Grace, lacks the necessary passion and raw energy to adequately portray the agony. James Marzec is credible as Tommy’s loveable larrikin character although the role could create more of a juxtaposition to Charlie’s sensitivity if played in a more macho style.
Fracture is a well-paced and emotionally suspenseful piece that slowly insinuates to an unpredictable conclusion. It is a brilliant start for a promising young theatre maker.
It runs every night at 7.00pm until Saturday 27 June with an additional matinee performance on the last day. Contact www.theblueroom.org.au to book.