My Wife Peggy was a moving meander through one man’s grief, and a brilliant example of the merits of Premiere at Gasworks – a vital initiative supporting independent Australian theatre artists in staging new works.
Perhaps grief isn’t quite the right word, because grief comes later. Written and directed by Gavin Roach, My Wife Peggy explores the surreal, turbulent, and treacherous time of immediate loss. There are unrelated observations, tangents, unexpected memories, anger, pleading, confusion, and love.
Navigating this is Dallas Palmer in a lovely turn as man whose life has irrevocably changed. There’s an exact, removed quality to his voice, almost metronomic that conveys beautifully, a shattered self overwhelmed in the aftermath of sudden death. His final plaintive words to Peggy, stubborn and childlike, brought things to a heartbreaking conclusion.
There was also a nice piece of synchronicity in having Brighton Secondary College’s Fabulous Carnival March elsewhere in the building, as occasionally some of their cheers and celebratory music would leak through into the space. It was so light behind the action onstage, it took on a quality of memory, like an echo from the earlier birthday party Peggy was present for.
On a small, precisely-dressed set, My Wife Peggy depicts a man’s entire world beginning to crumble, telling its story with care and grace.
My Wife Peggy
Studio Theatre – Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Performance: Wednesday 28 August 2019 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 7 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.gasworks.org.au
Image: Dallas Palmer stars in My Wife Peggy (Supplied)
Review: David Collins