Picture one: Nathan Schultz as Norman and Trevor Love as The Policeman. Picture two: Nathan Schulz.
By Anthony Shaffer
Directed by Barry Gibson
Javeenbah Theatre Company
Cnr Stevens & Ferry Streets,
Runs until Saturday (August 3). Bookings: (07) 55960300 or www.javeenbah.org.au
Painter Norman Bartholomew (Nathan Schulz) is a classic man-child living in what could be taken as a fantasy world in Anthony Shaffer’s puzzle play Murderer. He is obsessed with UK murders and is forever quoting them and re-constructing their macabre world, but events are about to overtake him as the curtain raises on one of the Javeenbah’s most successful productions this season.
That’s about as much as I dare say about this extremely popular 1975 classic which powers through two hours of drama like a Formula One motor race.
It’s a show which could easier be stuffed up as it requires a carefully balanced approach moving from black humour to dark gruesome intentions, sometimes within a sentence.
Nathan Schulz’s Norman carries the bulk of the play and this long-time actor – probably better known as a director – gives the role just the right mix of delusional adult and petulant child. When I saw it along with a full-house at a Sunday matinee one audience member expressed the view that Norman lived in a world somewhere between US serial killer Ted Bundy and Psycho’s Anthony Perkins.
The character has two women in his life – straight laced wife Elizabeth (Naomi Thompson) and flighty seductive girlfriend Millie (Ella DeVillers) – and a problem to solve.
The problem gives rise to his simplistic plan with the only complication being the arrival of the roly-poly policemen played by Trevor Love whose innocence gives Murderer another comic dimension.
However, there’s more to Shaffer’s play than a clever plot as the dialogue has a sophisticated style that lift this play well above the ordinary
Murderer also boasts a first class set - the play unfolds in a country house with a Japanese theme – that includes a bathroom with a screen that throws up shadows featuring some of the most heart-stopping action.
Murderer has only three more outings in this season – Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – but it’s well worth a visit to the theatre.
Go and be entertained and perhaps a little bit frightened if only for a couple of hours.