Written by Andrew Bovell
Directed by Cate Clelland
A Free Rain production
ACT HUB theatre, Kingston to 4 November
Reviewed by Len Power 27 October 2023
Two couples planning to betray their spouses, meet up with strangers in a bar. A lover from the past wants to confront a woman to find out why she left him many years before, a neighbour is seen getting rid of a woman’s shoe mysteriously from his car late one night and the husband of a woman who has disappeared feels guilty because he did not answer her increasingly frantic phone messages.
In ‘Speaking In Tongues’, the random meetings of 2 couples set off a chain of events that are like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Incidents related by the characters that seem random eventually fit the overall picture, making it all a compelling and involving study of marital infidelity, guilt, poor communication and the nature of love. Sadly, strangers are able to confide in other strangers but not with their own husbands and wives.
Australian playwright, Andrew Bovell’s play was first produced in 1996. The award-winning play has since been produced nationally and internationally and was successfully adapted for the screen as ‘Lantana’.
The four actors playing nine characters artfully bring these people to life. Steph Roberts, Arran McKenna, Jess Waterhouse and Robbie Haltiner all give extraordinarily real performances. Their vocal delivery and the non-verbal aspects of their characters have been carefully thought out.
Otherwise, the director, Cate Clelland, has obtained impressive, in-depth performances from her highly capable cast. Every moment rings true in this very entertaining and ingenious play.
Photo by Janelle McMenamin
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.