Crocodiles-photo-by-Cameron-GrantCrocodiles is a deeply flawed work of theatre that seems to never quite find its footing nor generate the interest it needs from an audience.

The outline for the work had so much promise and potential, but from the very first scene it is clear that there is very little comparison between the idea of the work and the outcome.

The story never quite lands on what its focal point is about – audiences meet an array of characters, each as forgettable as the last, only to be reminded of their importance in later scenes, well after the audience has lost interest.

The story revolves around a nursing home or perhaps the friends that work at the nursing home, or the couple who have put their mother into the nursing home, or the owners of the nursing home… it is still tricky to figure out.

Each character seems to have a story to tell but are given too much time to tell very little and what is told is little more than surface based exposition.

Marcel Dorney directs this work into exhaustion, wringing out each scene, each moment and leaving little subtly on the stage. The connection between the script and the directorial ideas felt very disconnected and at odds causing the pace of the work to flatline, the ensemble to aimlessly move about the space and the overall production to rapidly run out of steam.

The ensemble of Rachel Kamath, Shamita Siva, Marta Kaczmarek, Tom Dent and Emily Tomlins never quite force a cohesive ensemble nor give much to each other to bolster the story up and bring life to the world. Each performer is in their own play, making choices that go nowhere and highlighting a disappointing laissez faire attitude.

Worse still, the staging of the work, the set and design elements, don’t just hinder the work but go to great lengths to activity work against the narrative and reinforce that the overall production was not ready for the stage.

Ambition should always be applauded and encouraged, however Crocodiles is an example of how development pathways could have been better spent.

Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, 189 High Street, Northcote
Performance: Wednesday 24 May 2023
Season continues to 4 June 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: The Cast of Crocodiles – photo by Cameron Grant

Review: Gavin Roach