Moby Dick

Melbourne Grammar Moby Dick“Call me Ishmael” – a line that has been quoted countless times and for good reason. It is an opening phrase that immediately sets the scene for the story that is about to unfold. An utterance almost as famous as the white whale itself. An idiom that is masterfully used to introduce the audience to the world of Moby Dick.

It is difficult to breathe new life into a literary classic like Mody Dick, but the cast and creatives behind the Melbourne Grammar School production manage to find their own voice and keep the ship out of choppy waters.

Dylan Glatz takes on the dual roles of director and writer – weaving the story and structure in perfect sync and displaying a very even keel talent. Glatz’s adaptation is simple but no less exciting, focusing on the relationship between adventure and youth and how quickly the thrill of glory sours when faced with the perils of the high seas. As director, Glatz captains the ship with a masterful hand and firm guidance, allowing the performers to flourish freely and joyfully embody their characters.

The ensemble of Toby Bonnici, Hugo Dundee, Fred O’Brien, Marcus Nguyen, Edgar Stirling, Alistair Brunton, Xander Harris and Will Furphy bring to the stage and their characters a wealth of insight, energy, humour and just the right amount of cheeky charm. Each performer found their moment to take hold of the story, while still resisting the urge to overshadow or pull focus from their cast mates.

Isabella ‘Iz’ Zettl’s lighting and sound design elevated the world of this work with unbridled imagination and subtle surprising touches throughout the story. Zettl’s designs create a deep and detailed mise-en-scène, a haunting voyage of colour and shadows and the perfect world for Colleen Burke’s puppets (by far the stand outs of the show) to come to life.

While adding yet another Moby Dick adaptation to the theatrical lexicon may seem like a trite endeavour, Melbourne Grammar School’s Moby Dick not only injects the enthusiasm of youth to the work but the production brings to the stage some very exciting talent to keep an eye on.

Moby Dick
Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Performance: Thursday 16 November 2023

Image: Melbourne Grammar School presents Moby Dick (supplied)

Review: Gavin Roach