The Events by David Greig began as an investigation into a 2014 mass murder in Oslo. The production centres around Claire, an Anglican minister, as she wrestles with the unfathomable after a mass shooting.
Greig has cleverly omitted the act of the young shooter running in and gunning down members of the choir. In doing so he removes the power from the gunman and places it squarely in the hands of one victim, Claire, played by Catherine McClements.
Claire must sink to the depths of despair as she searches for the answer to the question that is so often left unanswered after acts of mass shootings. Why?
McClements gives a commanding performance as she wrestles with the demons that haunt her after the attack. The emotions of her character are manic as she seesaws from excitement to the deep depths of depression. At one point she chews on a biscuit while audibly and skillfully delivering her lines.
Johnny Carr plays the boy, as well as an array of other characters Claire encounters in her quest to seek an answer to why a boy could gun down members of her choir. Carr skillfully assumes the role of the various other characters. He successfully conveys the feelings and attitudes the various characters have towards the shooter. McClements simply rearranges a chair on stage to indicate to the audience she is interviewing another character.
During the season of performances, 6 Perth choirs – Churchlands Choral Society, Indie Mix Pop Choir, St Barnabas Community Choir, The Mighty Camelot Chorale, Voyces and Rhythmos perform on stage with the two lead characters.
Rhythmos appeared in the opening night production under the direction of pianist and musical director Benjamin Hogan. They opened the performance with a contemporary rendition of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. This performance along with the remainder of the musical numbers were delivered with passion, power and exceptional voices. Their harmonies seem to linger amongst the musical vibrations to be appreciated a second longer.
The choir also assists with delivering various lines throughout the production. The choir member who came forward to inform Claire the choir was no longer going to meet, due to her requests for them to perform obscure cleansing rituals, did a great job of delivering her lines with feeling.
I’m not sure it was necessary to include the “Hippie from Fremantle” line for stereotypical laughs in a dramatic piece. There were enough laughs in the script to assist with deflecting the horror of the topic when needed.
The Events is a powerful and thought provoking performance that will have you leaving the theatre engaged in conversation. A discussion the World needs to engage in to find a solution to such horrific events.
Studio Underground – State Theatre Centre of WA, William Street, Perth
Performance: Friday 22 June 2018 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 8 July 2018
Information and Bookings: www.bsstc.com.au
Image: Johnny Carr and Catherine McClements star in The Events – photo by Daniel J Grant
Review: Craig Dalglish