Come Away With Me . . . review: There’s one thing you need to do before seeing this show

Where else in this year’s festival are you going to hear the call of the Australian raven and a southern boobook?

Patrick Moffatt, Beth Buchanan and Heather Bolton in Come Away With Me ... Photograph: Pia Johnson

Patrick Moffatt, Beth Buchanan and Heather Bolton in Come Away With Me ... Photograph: Pia Johnson

 

Samuel Beckett Theatre

★★★★

This quirky Australian piece is billed as “a quietly humorous meditation on life and death”.  Three individuals wander around a spare landscape – a large painting of gum trees, a chain of tiny Himalayan mountains, a miniature volcano, a campfire – and chat about this and that. Ranters Theatre Company from Melbourne says it’s interested in “the ordinary rituals of day-to-day living and the strange personal details that lie beneath the skin of social convention”. 

 Strange is certainly the word for this determinedly low-key production. Actors Beth Buchanan, Heather Bolton and Patrick Moffatt, who’ve worked together for more than 20 years, address each other directly and easily. It’s not so effortless for the audience, cast as voyeurs and eavesdroppers, trying to make a play out of random snatches of conversation interspersed with unpredictable eruptions of song, dance and tectonic activity.  

 You can’t, of course – until you give up. Then you get it. It’s not like a meditation: it is a meditation. What appears random to you, makes perfect sense to me. Pieces of dialogue – dreams, memories, aspirations – resonate with some but baffle others. The person to my right fell asleep (twice) whereas the soundtrack alone was enough to keep this reviewer awake: where else in this year’s festival are you going to hear the call of the Australian raven and, unless I’m mistaken, a southern boobook? Somebody guffawed at one point – at the appearance of a man dressed as a tree, I think – but this is not the sort of feelgood play where the entire theatre laughs as one. 

 Before you go, check out the Aphrodite’s Child song The End Of The World.  If you’re happy to be trapped in a spaced-out video with Demis Roussos for an evening, you’ll love this show.  

  • Until October 1st