Review :: Silent Disco at Griffin Theatre

May 12th 2011

The Wikipedia definition of a silent disco is a whole bunch of people getting together at a music festival and dancing to songs with their headphones on. In Lachlan Philpot’s play of the same name, this act become a subtle yet powerful metaphor of the extent to which people are caught up in their own worlds, occasionally colliding into each other.

Tamara dances to Wynter Gordon’s Dirty Talk while Squid drinks bourbon in a park. Nothing is as important as the school formal. The young star-crossed lovers of Silent Disco are teenagers on the cusp of being ‘proper’ grown ups, but the statistics are against them. Against the backdrop of an inner Sydney high school, their dreams seem elusive when faced with the harsh reality of life. Squid is an Aboriginal kid whose brother Dane is in jail. Tamara’s Mum has all but abandoned her. Mrs. Petchall, their high school English teacher, just wants them to graduate, but for Tamara and Squid a part time job at Go-Lo seems pretty promising.

Director Lee Lewis has unearthed the explosive energy inherent in this play through dynamic casting with Sophie Hensser and Meyne Wyatt as the two leads, with Camilla Ah Kin (Mrs Petchall) and Kirk Page (Dane) delivering the sort of solid support needed to make this work really fly. The dialogue of the play is very pared back, especially between Tamara and Squid, but the subtext is full of life, with Dane – fresh out of prison – striking a balance that is both vulnerable and dangerous. The turning points in this work are clever and subtle.

The play is strong right down to the last detail. Set designer Justin Nardella has created a schoolyard corner backed by wire mesh that looks like Paddington’s Cutler Footway. Much of the set in fact borrows from the street, with a concrete armchair that looks like it could’ve been designed by Will Coles, sitting below some pink graffiti that says 'Dog Pound'.

Silent Disco proves that youth is definitely not wasted on the young. Go and check it out!

What: Silent Disco by Griffin Theatre

Where: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross

When: Monday – Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7pm. Until June 4.

How much: $47/$34/$28 (under 30 Mon-Thurs)/$15 rush tickets Mondays


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