Ash Ricardo and Ian Meadows in Between Two Waves. Photo: Brett Boardman
The world premiere of Ian Meadows’ Between Two Waves
at Griffin’s SBW Stables Theatre on October 10 was everything a lover of new, independent Australian drama could hope for, and more. The venue was packed to bursting with an enthusiastic opening night audience and after everyone had been squashed into a peculiarly cramped seating bank by zealous front of house staff, the crowd were treated to a thought provoking, gritty, 90 minute performance replete with several staging surprises.
Between Two Waves is presented in the round, that is to say, the style of seating at Griffin’s tiny King Cross venue and designer David Fleischer’s choice of a stark white set meant we, as an audience, were able to observe one another’s reactions from across the stage. Intentional or not, this is a delight; an invitation to view an engaged audience’s strong emotional responses and a testament to the play’s meaty subject matter.
Described by its own publicity as ‘An urgent and searching new play about the most pressing issue of our times…’ Between Two Waves¬’ cast of characters could have been swallowed up by a didactic attempt to invoke intelligent debate around the issue of global warming. They weren’t. Charmingly, there is substantial scientific rhetoric on this very subject throughout the play but the piece is about far more than big, clunky world issues (that ultimately do indeed deserve our attentions).
Ian Meadows plays Daniel, a late 20-something ‘geeky science type’ whose work life becomes submerged in the murky waters of career advancement, science and politics. His personal life is shambolic at best. Meadow’s Daniel is refreshingly three-dimensional and it’s easy to get swept up in his complex tale.
As the plot twists and turns we meet Fiona (Ash Ricardo), Jimmy (Chum Ethelepola) and Grenelle (Rachel Gordon). The small, talented and versatile cast successfully carry the work. As director Sam Strong says in his notes, ‘Between Two Waves is not an issue play … Rather, this is a work that comes at climate change ‘from the side’ – a story that offers a personal, emotional and imaginative take on the issue’.
Sound designer Steve Francis crafts a masterful backdrop to the drama. At times his work is barely noticeable and wonderfully so, helping the play’s extraordinary atmosphere blossom and prosper.
This reviewer, for one, wanted to run through the streets yelling happy expletives afterwards. If theatre is an exploration of topics that affect a populous at a specific time in history and seeks to provoke thought, debate and change, then Between Two Waves is a good example of this, done well.
An emotionally satisfying, professional performance that stays with the viewer long after the stage has been vacated.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Griffin Theatre Company presents
Between Two Waves
By Ian Meadows
Director: Sam Strong
Dramaturg: Tahli Corin
Assistant Director: Mackenzie Steele
Designer: David Fleischer
Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall
Sound Designer and Composer: Steve Francis
Audio-Visual Designer: Steve Toulmin
Voice-over Artists: Lucy Bell, David Whitney, Matt Zeremes
With Chum Ehelepola, Rachel Gordon, Ian Meadows and Ash Ricardo
SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross
5 October – 17