Music / “La Traviata – Opera in a Nutshell”. At Wesley Music Centre, August 18. Reviewed by LEN POWER
ALONG with Canberra Sinfonia and Mockingbird Theatre, Limbo Theatre Co. is the third new creative arts group to appear in Canberra within a month. Formed by graduates of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, Limbo aims to bridge the gap between study and industry.
Their choice of Dario Fo’s 1970 Italian play, “Accidental Death Of An Anarchist”, was a good showcase for the group of six actors to show what they can do. Fo’s play is based on a true event in Milan in 1969 where an arrested protester died suspiciously while in custody at a police station. While it was no laughing matter, Dario Fo uses farce, vaudeville and a whole range of theatrical elements to deliver a pungent political message about truth and reality.
The frenetic action of this play with its physical and verbal comedy played at breakneck speed has been carefully controlled by director Clare Moss, and she has obtained fine performances from her company of six actors.
In the marathon role of the maniac, Hayden Splitt gives an extraordinarily winning performance. He plays at a furiously manic pace with clear diction and excellent verbal comic timing throughout and skilfully handles the physical demands of the role as well.
Nick Steain, Izaac Beach and Damon Baudin give funny and sharply etched characterisations as the increasingly frustrated and confused police officers and Anneka van der Velde shows fine skills in physical comedy as the constables. Imogene Irvine plays the unflappable journalist, Feletti, with a studied calmness in a nice contrast to the other characters.
This is a highly entertaining play directed and performed very well by all concerned. The full house on opening night was in stitches laughing at the absurdities of the plot and the characters. Still, Dario Fo’s message about the dangerous areas between truth and lies stays with you long after this play has ended.