Truth/Reconciliation at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Photo by Greg Goodale. Jake Felts and Hannah Morrison pictured.

Written and directed by Matthew Gouldesbrough, Truth/Reconciliation is a vivid and visceral show that packs one hell of a punch. With a 45-minute running time, it is small but perfectly and disruptively formed. The fractured nature of the piece took me on a journey that my brain struggled to keep up with, fed with so much rich information it wasn’t given time to digest. It is a show that takes you hostage, long beyond the final words. I crave the opportunity to sit with a copy of the play text, and immerse myself in the richness of the language, in the safety of my home while enjoying a comforting cup of tea (seriously, how do I get a copy of the play text?). There is no comfort in seeing it performed so powerfully by Jake Felts and Hannah Morrison. The direction is as intelligent and relentless as the play itself, with images on the wall adding to the mental overload. The over stimulation of my brain freed me to experience the play. This is a purity to the experience, that pulled me beneath the razor smart brilliance of the words and into the world of dark emotions that threatens to overwhelm us all.

Alex (Jake Felts) and Bea (Hannah Morrison) are actors and both a couple/exes in this story, which layers moments on top of moments, sometimes with repetition, and with a lack of order or structure that in lesser hands would have felt like mindless chaos. Felts crackles with energy, his journey as an actor taking him to the National, but at what cost. It is hard to take your eyes off him, or the many images of him repeated on the walls. Morrison is just as compelling as Bea, the accidental actor who now struggles to understand who she is if she isn’t acting, if she even exists with no stage. Themes including suicide, loss, abuse within the theatre industry, and quantum physics thread through the play. There is a lot to take in and take on, yet Felts and Morrison are perfection, never faltering despite the complexity of the piece.

Truth/Reconciliation needs to be experienced to be appreciated. It abandons the safety net of causal linear narratives in a way that is both brutal and intoxicating. I would have happily stayed in the theatre to watch it again that very night. What a ride!

Truth/Reconciliation runs at the Old Red Lion until Sunday 29th August at 7.30pm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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