To launch their 2018 season and Mardi Gras at Seymour, Seymour Centre kicks off with Strangers in Between, from the playwright of the award-winning Holding the Man. I was extremely thrilled to see Tommy Murphy’s latest play and to step into the world of queer youth today.
The first thing that catches your eye when you walk into the theatre is the bathtub in the middle of the stage. You then realise and respect the director’s decision to make that tub multi-purpose throughout the play. It’s an eski,for several moments it was a seat, and then finally it arrives as its original purpose as a bath. I found it very amusing to notice its utilitarianism.
The production was succinct with minimal scenes but immersive scripting. The characters were multi-layered and not at all resembling stereotypes, a highlight to be commended for things LGBTQ-themed. The actors were all compelling in their performances and stayed true to the message they’re trying to deliver.
It starts off with the exquisite setting that is Kings Cross. Shane (played by Wil King), a young man from the country, escapes to Sydney to find a new life. He bumps into two new friends at the liquor shop. Peter (played by Simon Burke) is a fifty-year-old gay man who likes wine and cooking at home. Will (played by Guy Simon) offers sex, friendship — and something unexpected. Shane attempts to to reconcile the events of his past as he tries to navigate the concrete jungle, discover his sexuality, and be independent.
The protagonist is quick to be judged as narcissistic, immature, and overly loud at first glance. But you quickly learn Shane is only distracting himself from facing the ghosts of his past. He then discovers the community he is part of and learns to forgive his brother.
Strangers in Between is a modern take on the LGBTQ youth’s hardships and complexities. It is also a reminder that the struggle still exists with societal acceptance and normativity today.
Kevin R. is a 22-year-old Sydney local who enjoys craft beer, theatre and all-things culture. Follow his adventures at @kevinr___.