In what is another standout dramatic piece of writing from playwright Tommy Murphy, Strangers in Between is a heartwarming tale of friendship and self-discovery. As part of this year’s Midsumma Festival theatregoers were treated to an extraordinary piece of work led by three of Australia’s greatest male actors; Simon Burke, Guy Simon and Wil King. Directed by Daniel Lammin, is an Australian story so many can relate to, with a real sense of wit and sass.
Soundtracked by music of the new millennium is a modern-day snippet of life in Kings Cross for locals, and of course the fresh-faced Shane, played by King. His innocence and naivety is beautiful to watch, and King’s commitment to his character’s journey comes through in such a likeable way. You feel his anxieties and apprehensions as if they were your own, and anyone who has experienced the move from the country to the city can understand the sensory overload of what day one entails. A truly remarkable performance by a rising star.
Exploring the notion of friendship and first-time sexual encounters are Peter (played by Burke), and Will (played by Simon). Together, they become Shane’s two friends, through which they experience highs and lows. With such great pace and dynamic chemistry between the trio, the performance as a whole felt very naturalistic, and will have you engaged and laughing all the way through. Even though the content is geared towards the gay community, the overarching messages transcend all friendship types and sexual orientations. And isn’t this the point of new-age theatre; to connect everyone together in relatable scenarios. Any one of the audience members could have put themselves in one of the three roles, and in a way, Murphy cleverly calls us to evaluate some of our own values.
There are difficult conversations and moments these characters share, but right up until the final scene you’re invested. There is nothing overly complex in the staging or design of this work, and it allows the focus to remain on the dialogue and the performances.
For a truly riveting night out at the theatre, and to spark fresh conversations of your life experiences, this play is a must-see.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Strangers in Between closes this weekend at fortyfivedownstairs, with tickets still available.
The reviewer attended the performance on February 1st.