an entertaining night out for those who know and love theatre
The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ | Review
Maryann Wright | Stage Whispers
A play within a play within a play. Is your brain hurting yet? Griffin Theatre’s Independent season of The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ is meta theatre. The audience take their seats and see director/stage direction reader (Natasha Herbert) welcome us to tonight’s play reading of The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’. The play reading begins and the line between where it stops and starts continues to blur until 60 minutes later the audience are kindly asked to vacate the theatre. Did we just witness a dramatic verbatim play reading or did off-stage drama compel the readers to break from the script? It’s anyone’s guess.
Clever in its contrived realistic nature, Zoey Dawson’s play directed by Declan Greene is funny and compelling. ‘In’ theatre jokes are rife and we are presented with over-the-top characters that are all too common in Sydney’s ‘real-life’ theatre scene. The overbearing, spotlight hungry director (Herbert), the manic, tortured writer (Nikki Shiels), the boyfriend/co-star turned hated and awkward ex (Aaron Orzech), the comedic actress who wouldn’t understand subtlety if it hit her square in the face (Annie Last) and the spunky actor who gets hit on from every which way at post-rehearsal drinks (Matt Hickey).
Natasha Herbert is the star of the show with her convincing contrivance as director/stage direction reader. Herbert lands all the jokes and remains the only likeable character on-stage. Romanie Harper’s lighting design is also outstanding – particularly during Herbert’s final monologue.
The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ provides an entertaining night out for those who know and love theatre – particularly for theatre-makers themselves. Theatre newbies may find themselves utterly confused and wonder why the jokes are so funny…and should they leave now? Or now? Has the play really finished?