By the time the dust settles (and is vacuumed up by one of the stage managers during the show), the choice of title becomes clear. Trustees is a remarkable work of theatre, but it’s also an indictment of the poor job “mainstream” Australia are doing as trustees to minority groups, refugees, and the indigenous population throughout the country.
Trustees is an anarchic, theatrical wonder. What starts off as an intellectual exercise changes into a perverse boardroom meeting, before becoming an autopsy of Us Vs Them – digging into the mentality behind how so many abhorrent practices are allowed to go on in Australia.
Racism, violence against women, illegal detention – so many of the worse facets of this country are routinely ignored, or – perhaps worse – normalised. But Trustees doesn’t just get under the skin of the problem for a clinical rummage around. The show quickly devolves into an orgiastic explosion of myth, impulse, shame, and power.
The five performers – Hazem Shammas, Tammy Anderson, Niharika Senapati, Natasha Herbert, and Daniel Schlusser – were tremendous, giving performances that were all imaginative and visceral yet utterly distinct.
Embraced by Jethro Woodward’s sound and Amelia Lever-Davidson’s lights, playing on incredible set pieces designed by Romanie Harper – the show puts Gregor Samsa to shame, metamorphosing into an unsettling work of brutal agitation.
Beckett Theatre – The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt street, Southbank
Performance: Wednesday 3 October 2018 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 21 October 2018
Information and Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au
Image: Trustees Ensemble – photo by Nicolai Khalezin
Review: David Collins