David Greig adapts Joe Simpson’s adventurous novel, bringing his story of survival and resilience to the stage. The script weaves a nonlinear narrative with real life events to create an intriguing and emotive journey.
Although the script scales to soaring heights of adrenaline fueled mountaineering, it does fall flat when fleshing out it’s characters. There’s a distinct lack of richer and deeper character development, leaving the audience with little to cling to or care about.
Petra Kalive’s direction hinders the work rather than grounding it. Moments never quite land, the pacing lags and crawls, and the actors move about the space with a vary hesitation – as if unconfident with their surroundings.
Joe Klocek steals the show as the adventurous and thrill seeking Joe – perfectly pivoting between the work’s comedic and heartbreaking moments. Kevin Hofbauer and Lucy Durack fail to make an impact in their roles, becoming little more than one dimensional ciphers to keep the work going. Likewise unfortunately is the case for Karl Richmond, who gives a great performance to a redundant character.
Andrew Bailey’s stunning set is on point with its ominous presence and intriguing surprises. Katie Sfetkidis, Darius Kedros and Kat Chan round out the design team, adding light touches that enhance the monolithic mountain on stage.
This first production in Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2022 Season may have been fought with the difficulties that 2022 currently presents but nevertheless Touching The Void gave audiences a rather lackluster start to the year.
Touching the Void
The Sumner – Southbank Theatre, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Performance: Tuesday 25 January 2022
Season continues to 19 February 2022
Information and Bookings: www.mtc.com.au
Image: Touching the Void – photo by Jeff Busby
Review: Gavin Roach