|Phil Roberts in "Wake in Fright", Photo by Melanie Audrey|
“All the little devils are proud of hell” the alcoholic town doctor whispers. After losing all his money in a two-up game, Grant becomes the hapless victim of the small town’s brutal entertainment. His desperate attempts to escape the inevitable slide into degradation only propels him further into a nightmare from which there can be no release. Only the strongest may survive the lure of the two-up game, the seductive wiles of the town’s nymphomaniac and the deadly thrill of the spotlighting expedition in which the hunter becomes the hunted and the predator lies in wait to feed upon the weaker prey.
|Photo by Melanie Audrey|
Bob Pavlich’s taut adaptation of Kenneth Cook’s Wake in Fright is a terrifying insight into male brutishness and the cruelly taunting relish of the hunter in entrapping his prey. The female roles serve a transitory purpose, but allow little scope for development. Perhaps this is why Jeanette’s vocal impact seemed hesitant, in spite of her strong physicaliSation of the role. This may well have been Cook’s intention in the telling of the story, but that aside, the realism is inescapable and the production, underscored by David Wright’s ominous guitar music is an unsettling and a disturbing condemnation of the pack bestiality.
Wake in Fright is an impressive visitor to the Adelaide Fringe.
Reviewer – Peter Wilkins