Art & Design


Orphans at Red Stitch

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The path to hell is paved with good intentions but what if we’re already in hell? Red Stitch Theatre’s latest production is the bleak thriller Orphans by English playwright Dennis Kelly and directed by Imara Savage. Set on the edge of a London council estate families fear leaving their homes for the violent street kids. Hot on the heels of the London riots, Orphans is telling a story that has gone further in real life than its narative leaving a frightening picture.

The play starts when a quiet dinner between married couple Danny and Helen is interupted by Helen’s brother Liam arriving covered in blood. Liam (Paul Ashcroft) has been helping a man who has been stabbed by the council estate kids. Shaken and blathering, Danny (Philip Hayden) and Helen (Erin Dewar) through the course of the evening piece the story together out of Liam’s gibbering. This play is loud, really loud, the dialogue is repetitive creating a cacophany of panic, denial then bargaining. It’s a multilayered effect, the panicked parroting drawing attention away from the real issues, that perhaps these problems were perpetrated by the so called victims. But who is the vicitm and who is the perpetrator?

The thriller is not a genre often entered to on stage but Orphans maintains the pace needed terrifically – there are some truely tense moments that left the audience squirming, muttering and gasping. Moments of jet black comedy provide a crevice for breath before you’re swept away again with the torrent.

Orphans, taken literally and in metaphor, is a tautly written and staged production that reflects accurately and chillingly the current political/news media climate.

Orphans plays until Saturday 5th November
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
Rear 2, Chapel St, St. Kilda


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