ABOUT THE WRITER: Harry Sabulis is film, music, theatre and media crazed writer with a passion for all things artsy. A certified nerd and aspiring screenwriter, Harry loves storytelling in all of its forms. You can read some of his film reviews on his blog, Kill The Critic.
As relevant now as they were back in 1995, the societal issues explored in La Boite and QUT’s production of the Australian classic Blackrock is sure to shock some sense into the unsuspecting masses.
While Australian society has come a long way since 1995, there are still many issues often neglected such as addiction, sexism, masculinity and the unrealistic expectation of young men and women in our modern society. Director, Todd MacDonald’s new take on the much-revered Australian play by the late Nick Enright manages to keep the same impact of the original, with only a few minor updates in slang; showing how little some things have changed over that time.
While many may be familiar with the 1997 film adaptation starring Heath Ledger, the original Blackrock was adapted from Enright’s theatre-in-education piece A Property of the Clan, which in turn was based on the true story of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Australian girl, Leigh Leigh. Despite dealing with such a sensitive subject matter, MacDonald and La Boite have done a fantastic job in giving a strong, contemporary authenticity to the production; while paying respect to the original source material.
A great deal of this authenticity comes from the cast of Blackrock – many of whom aren’t too far removed from the Australian youth themselves. Being a collaboration between La Boite and QUT, the cast consists of a mix of QUT final year acting students and professional actors, including Christen O’Leary, a familiar face at La Boite (Medea, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
As for how the classic production fit into the Roundhouse Theatre (something La Boite is unique for in Brisbane), the set design was another highlight of the production. While the two-story structure fit the bill of an Australian beach suburbia home, the rotating stage allowed for the audience to journey through the turbulent events seamlessly with the actors onstage.
The use of multimedia in the production was another strong point, as video cameras recording live on the night were projected onto the rotating set, eerily foreshadowing the events to come. While the set design provided the dramatic flair one would expect from a La Boite production, the costuming of each character provided another genuine layer of authenticity.
Blackrock is showing at La Boite from Saturday July 22 until Saturday August 12. However, if you miss out this time make sure to look out for what’s yet to come from La Boite’s 2017 season.
Photographer: Dylan Evans