Zadie is just trying to keep the peace in Paradise, her Stepford like Australian suburb where everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses. But soon, events are in play that are determined to rock Zadie’s seemingly perfect world.
Marillier’s script is constructed beautifully, with characters and dialogue that are incredibly grounded and multifaceted. The story comically flows with impeccable wit and joyous word play, making each scene dynamically whimsical as well as emotively charged.
A powerhouse ensemble of envy inducing actors brings this story to life on stage. Gabriela Van Wyk captains the ship as the relatable Zadie – capturing the character’s deep vulnerability and world weariness, as well as Zadie’s sass and strength.
Callan Colley steals the show as the lovelorn Leroy – hopelessly in love with Zadie and nervously trying to maintain an air of dignity. Colley’s comedic timing and stage presence electrifies each scene, bouncing from puppy dog forlorn to biting sarcasm in the same breath.
Mariama Whitton and Zindzi Okenyo round out the quartet, delivering strong performances even when their characters feel a little more like story cyphers than fleshed out.
Okenyo’s direction is slick and rhythmic – they know the world they are creating and guide the script with a deft hand. The pace is high, moments land with a throbbing bass and a shameless sense of free abandon is brought to the work.
Benjamin Pierpoint’s sound design is lively and pulses with the dark undertones of the work, while Jeremy Allen’s set and Verity Hampson’s lighting design creates an environment that is overtly saccharin and sinister at the same time.
Orange Thrower is a brilliant addition to the Australian lexicon, full of curious mysteries, free from cliche and brimming with love and life.
SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross
Performance: Saturday 12 March 2022
Season continues to 26 March 2022
Lennox Theatre – Riverside Theatres, Corner Church and Market Streets, Parramatta
Season: 30 March – 2 April 2022
For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Angela Nica Sullen and Mariama Whitton in Orange Thrower – photo by Brett Boardman
Review: Gavin Roach