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Rip It Up
Worlds End
The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
16 May 2009

Accidental Productions’ latest piece, Paul Sellar’s World’s End, is sensitively directed by Joh Hartog. Primrose Hill sounds pleasant enough but Ben, a failed writer with an acrimonious wit, lives there in a dreary, north west London flat. His beautiful ex-girlfriend, Kat, has had enough and is there to collect her belongings, assisted by her new boyfriend, Josh, and her best friend, Thea. The indolent and domineering Ben, however, was not supposed to be there, and his presence throws a very large spanner into the works.

Mark Fantasia plays the emotionally manipulative Ben, never off stage and seldom silent. This role treads fine line that could easily present the picture of a man who is totally obnoxious, merely a sad loser or, what is clearly the author’s intent, and a point of view that many men when in a relationship might share, somebody with an inferiority complex, feeling inadequate and unworthy of the unconditional love that he is offered and, having decided that it cannot last, becoming that self-fulfilling prophesy, ensuring that the girl of his dreams leaves him lonely and alone.

Jessica Barnden is endearing, tearing at the emotions in the role of Kat, still in love with what she originally saw in Ben, loathing what he has allowed himself to become and, until the very end, hoping for his redemption. Barnden gives a most moving and compassionate interpretation in a superb performance; her best to date, as the emotionally distraught Kat.

The focus of the playwright is on the relationship between Ben and Kat and the characters of Thea and Josh are, therefore, rather two dimensional. To their credit, Alice Darling and Matt Crook do their best with the little that Sellar gives them, creating more than the script might suggest. This is a worthwhile evening of theatre so don’t miss it.

Barry Lenny