Following an acclaimed production of The Pillowman last year, Patalog Theatre Co presents their next production, the Melbourne premiere of UK Playwright Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk at St Martins Arts Centre until 7 July 2019.
A ghost story without a ghost. In a bare bones London town house, three siblings, haunted by the sudden disappearance of their mother, wait desperately for her call. Ellie, a ‘metro-sexual warrior’, makes up the rules; an outlaw, ‘king of all wild things’ draws on the walls; while Mother Maggie climbs them… They count hours, minutes, seconds and sheep as they try desperately, to fall asleep.
Few playwrights who have arrived on British stages in the last ten years have provoked more fascination or excitement than Polly Stenham. She is a writer for a world in search of authenticity. Intuitive, raw and often terrifying, Stenham wrote this exquisite play with children at the centre of it – when she was merely an adolescent herself.
Tusk Tusk is Stenham’s second play and dwells in the territory of the abused children of the affluent classes – intoxicatingly dramatising the world of a household of children abandoned by their parents. It is a play scorched by comedy and tenderness as much as it is the heightened nightmare of a children’s fairy-tale.
Tusk Tusk is directed by Ruby Rees – who was the youngest recipient of the National St Martin’s Playwriting Award in 2010 for her first play Serpents. In 2016 she completed a residency at the Manhattan Repertory Theater Company.
Featuring Markella Kavenagh (whose recent screen credits include Foxtel’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and Stan’s Romper Stomper – for which she received an AACTA nomination for Best New Talent), the cast also includes Lucy Ansell, Sol Feldman, Jayne Louse O’Connell, Glenn van Oosterom, Liam Smith and Ben Walter.
“We’ll be presenting the space in a manner unfamiliar to Melbourne audiences,” says Patalog Artistic Director Ben Walter. “We’re deeply excited Stenham’s urgent and incisive writing to the Melbourne stage.”
“Stenham cunningly balances gleeful home-alone sibling revelry with a growing sense of disquiet among the characters and the audience. The longer they wait for the return of their worryingly absent mother, the more pronounced the pressures and distances between them become.” – Variety
Irene Mitchell Studio – St Martins Arts Centre, 28 St Martins Lane, South Yarra
Season: 28 June – 7 July 2019
Information and Bookings: www.patalogtheatre.com
Image: Tusk Tusk (supplied)