Sunday, November 12, 2017

Silent Night

Silent Night by Mary Rachel Brown.  Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Sydney, at Eternity Playhouse, November 10 – December 10, 2017.

Director – Glynn Nicholas; Production Designer – Hugh O’Connor; Lighting Designer – Richard Whitehouse;  Sound Designer and Composer – Ross Johnson.

Amanda Bishop as Anne Lickfold; Richard Sydenham as Bill Lickfold; Aaron Glenane as Rodney Lickfold; Michael Denkha as The Uninvited Guest

Reviewed by Frank McKone
November 12 (Final Preview)

Non Sequitur may have been a good title for this play about a realistic view of the meaning of Christmas. 

There is a kind of silence for the Lickfold (think Christmas card envelopes) family after this two hours of convoluted morality strutting on the stage,  as they fearfully yet in a sense bravely face their inevitable end, but Mary Rachel Brown leads us on a merry, thoroughly unpredictable intellectual dance to their conclusion that they need to be a family at peace.

Essentially, Brown devilishly proves that good and evil are two sides of the same coin, and they need to understand each other for a realistic appreciation not only of human behaviour but even of where the universe is taking us – sort of à la rock star astronomer Brian Cox.

If this confuses you, don’t worry – it should, and it will, especially until the shock arrival of the Uninvited Guest at the end of Act 1.  You won’t expect what you see as Act 2 begins, but bit by bit the mystery will become clearer through the mists of time.

And while this is happening, you’ll find yourself constantly laughing at the oddities of a family vaguely reminiscent of the ethically-reversed Addams Family, even if you’re not quite sure why. 

Of course, Silent Night is anything but the normal idea of Christmas entertainment.  The author writes “The play points the finger at reductionist views of good and evil, and our often-juvenile relationship to notions of right and wrong.  Well, that was the intention, thank you for joining us to see if we pull it off.”

I thank Darlinghurst Theatre for putting it on.