The House on the Lake is a 90 minute, one act play. A psychological thriller, where David (Huw Higginson) seemingly suffering from anterograde amnesia, is coaxed back to health through a series of interviews by a forensic psychologist, Alice (Jeanette Cronin). What is gradually remembered, connected, produces a result that neither of the participants anticipate. This is an old fashioned structure and familiar experience (the 2000 film, by Christopher Nolan, Memento, comes to mind), but still makes for a very engrossing and absorbing night in the theatre. It does not have the melodramatic bangs and surprises, or tongue-in-cheek comedy of the recent production of Deathtrap, but does have intriguing, twisting labyrinthine plotting that demands attention and intellectual engagement. Time in the theatre passes quickly, enthrallingly.
The House on the Lake is performed with relish and entwined concentration by Mr Higginson – you may remember his remarkable performance last year in the Griffin Independent production: On the Shore of the Wide World, a performance, for me, that was one of the best of the year – and gives, here, another of equal quality, with Jeanette Cronin (Queen Bette; Tell Me Again).
Director, Kim Hardwick produces an ‘elegantly’ styled production with great confidence and an invisible control – no trendy director’s tricks (fingerprints) here, just clarity to the kind of play she is in charge of and an artist’s modesty in controlling its unfolding – remember her production of Bang – why do we not see her at work more often in Sydney? I ask, merely, for information. Lighting by Martin Kinnane and design by Stephen Curtis are simple background for the events of the play, enhanced with a beautiful composition of music and sound design by Kelly Ryall.
This is a play and production that invites you to attend to it and rewards you with a satisfying old fashioned contentment to a story well told, with deliciously primed artistry from all. Entertainment assured.
Company: Griffin Theatre Company
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney
Dates: 15 May – 20 June 2015
For more of Kevin Jackson’s theatre reviews, check out his blog at Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television