Melbourne Observer

Beth Klein of The Melbourne Observer wrote “Plays with dark and intense themes can only work with a strong cast and great direction. Orphans has both”

Full review here:

Danny and Helen are about to enjoy a romantic dinner, when Helen’s brother Liam enters covered in blood.

As far as date-nights going wrong, Dennis Kelly’s grim play Orphans presents an evening that couldn’t get much worse.

What follows is intense and frenzied. The inconsistency of Liam’s story gathers momentum and revelations about the siblings’ lives as wards of the state add to the sense of sadness.

Cracks emerge in the volatile relationship between Danny (Gavin Williams) and Helen (Shian Denovan) as she slowly comes to realise her loyalty to Liam (Pat Moonie) is misguided (or comes at a price)

Set in struggling lower middle-class Britain, this serious, dark play about family, trust and fear is a beautifully crafted piece of theatre.

Although elements are predictable, as the calamity of circumstances intensifies, Liam’s reluctant but heartfelt and desperate disclosures seem totally believable.

Plays with dark and intense themes can only work with a strong cast and great direction.

Orphans has both. I couldn’t possibly say enough about British-born actor Denovan, who recently arrived on our shores. Her performance was spectacular.
She played the volatile, controlling and capricious Helen with amazing skill, displaying a remarkable ability to change emotions in a moment.

She also shows a tone or quality of voice that was beautiful, even when she was screaming.

Pat Moonie as Liam portrayed his character with the unhinged, border-line manic intensity of a great artist.

It is hard to like Danny despite his (wimpy) attempt to follow the moral path and Williams, in the most part did a convincing job.

The set was basic but left me wondering just how lower middle class they were.

Douglas Montgomery has directed a thoughtful and exceptionally well-performed drama.

The dramatic black outs and scene grabs were funky, and artistically added depth to the story.

Performance season: Hurry only a few shows left – until August 23
Venue: Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Tickets: $28, Concession $24
Bookings: www.steamproductions.com.au or at the door

-Review by Beth Klein

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