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Adelaide Theatre Guide
Worlds End
The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
15 - 30 May 2009
 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ending a relationship was always quick, clean and free of feelings of devastation, abandonment, anger, surprise, betrayal, bitterness, revenge, injustice, violence, despair, elation (any or all of the above!) as we moved on to begin, or drift into, sooner or later, the next one? These are the issues presented in Accidental Productions’ Australian première of British writer Paul Sellar’s “Worlds End” seen first in London last year – a work the author calls ‘a deceptively simple play’. Excellent description because no relationship is ever simple - nor even predictable.

Nowhere would you find four young actors to develop this truism better than Mark Fantasia (in a finely tuned performance as the ‘dumped’, but still tenacious, young man, Ben), Jessica Barnden (brilliant as Kat, his live-in for the past two years), Alice Darling (her best friend, Thea, with more dark recesses than you’d first expect of an ‘unconditionally loyal’ best friend) and Matthew Crook (as Josh, the new squeeze Kat has left Ben for).

Under the direction of Joh Hartog, with design by Tammy Boden, this is a play – surprisingly running only 70 minutes in total – that has you siding, back and forth many times, with each of the four characters, at first hoping Kat will finish packing everything in sight into one of the many cardboard boxes and close the chapter on this good-for-nothing Ben, whom she expected would be out when she returned to remove her belongings; then with Ben, who seems to have at least one genuine complaint – that Kat just left him without as much as a word; then Thea, the flinty, seemingly in control and distanced, glamour girl; and finally Josh, perhaps the best example of the sacrificial lamb you’d find in a play not really about him at all!

Even in the last ten minutes, with the room now bereft of all its opening furniture and paraphernalia, the outcome is anyone’s guess – or is it really? Didn’t we know what was coming? If we are surprised, then maybe we really need to go back to the start and begin by acknowledging seriously that it is in the nature of every world to end, yet we still haven’t found a satisfactory way to cope when they do.

Your ‘Thought for Today’: All worlds end – no exceptions - so live with it!

Richard Flynn