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Review – Blackrock: an absolute winner

July 27, 2017

 

 Above: Annabel Harte, Karl Stuifzand, Tom Wilson, Tom Cossettini, Ryan Hodson

 

Right: Joss McWilliam. Below right: Christen O'Leary and Amy Ingram, Photos by Dylan Evans. More photos follow the review.

 

Blackrock

By Nick Enright

Directed by Todd MacDonald

La Boite/QUT Creative Industries presentation

The Roundhouse Theatre

Kelvin Grove

Brisbane

 

Season: July 22-August 12. Running time: approx 100 minutes without interval. Bookings: https://laboite.com.au/

 

Todd MacDonald’s production of Blackrock is an absolute winner, thanks to terrific direction and brilliant casting, particularly the eight third year QUT students who played the rampant teens.

They were all superb, filled with bubbling energy and

 enthusiasm. They were perfectly audible - their projection in the in-the-round setting was he best I have ever heard in the Roundhouse space – and their character creation was maintained throughout. It was a knockout performance from every one of them. I have rarely been so impressed by a group of young actors.

They also had the steadying influence of three adults, all vastly experienced – Joss McWilliam, Amy Ingram and Christen O’Leary who played several adult roles between them. It was magical mix of youth and experience.

When this play was first produced in 1992 it was a shocker as it portrayed the male dominated youth culture and “mateship” when the boys banded together after the rape and murder of a young schoolgirl at a beach party. The play was inspired by a true story, the rape and murder of a 14-year-old in 1989, but the action could so well have happened today.

The shocking thing now is that little seems to have changed. All it needed to bring it into the 21st century where little things like updated costumes, mobile phones, and selfies. The teen angst, the problems, and the attitudes have not changed a bit. Neither have the problems of parents!

Blackrock follows the story of the gang of eight schoolkids from, the surfing community of Blackrock, four boys and four girls: Jared (Ryan Hodson), is a quiet kid, a follower who is led into trouble by is older boisterous friend Ricko, (Karl Stuifzand) who turns up out of the blue with wheels but nowhere to live.

Then there is Toby (Tom Cossettini), an aggressive newbie from a wealthy family who wants to fit in, and is always ready for a punch-up and Scott (Thomas Wilson), who gets aggressive on the grog.

The girls, Toby’s sister Rachel (Jessica Potts) who also happens to be Jared’s girlfriend, Shana (Annabel Harte), Jared’s cousin Cherie (Ebony Nave) and Tiffany (Bianca Saul), add spice to the mix.

Add underage drinking, bravado and libido to the mix and then came volatility, violence, sex and sexism and things got out of hand. Jared saw the rape of Tracy, a 15-year-old virgin, but not the murder. When the murder is discovered he tells the police nothing of what he saw and is torn between honesty and his mates.

There was absolute silence during the 100 odd minutes of the play with an audience totally engrossed by what they were watching.

Karl Stuifzand and Tom Cossettini were terrific as they bounced off each other in so many scenes and Stuifzand will be long remembered after this show closes. But then so will the other actors, they created characters all so different and so well played.

The play is regarded as a classic; it is well crafted beautifully characterised , gripping – and so well performed by La Boite.

 

After party pics by Deanne scoot

 The cast.

Eric Scott with Annabel Harte and Tom Cossettini

 Amy Ingram, Helen Howard and Loss McWilliam

 

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