The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You is exhilarating teen angst from start to finish.
Sixteen year-old Connor (Harry Tseng) is perpetually angry. He reflects on the good times with his parents – who love him dearly – but by and large those are distant memories. Now he’s constantly in trouble, not just at home, but at school. He fights with and rails against everything and everyone, including his best mate. His verbal tantrums turn to physical violence. Connor’s parents search for a circuit breaker, but when even sending him to his hard-nosed uncle doesn’t produce the desired result, drastic measures are called for.
They dump Connor in the middle of the forest, next to his grandfather’s old shack, with some provisions. He has to spend a week on his own in an effort to sort himself out. But Connor meets an equally volatile girl his age, Lotte (Izabella Yena), who’s arguably done worse stuff than him. She’s in the forest with her parents, who are on the cusp of breaking up. What happens next?
The Violent Outburst is a superb production; masterfully written by prolific Australian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer. It’s funny – occasionally a little shocking. It connects with a younger audience; as well as older patrons who remember their turbulent teens.
Each of the actors is highly accomplished. Two of the three (Izabella Yena and Josh Price) play multiple roles … as teens and adults.
The production is infused with energy and vitriol. I was utterly absorbed and mesmerised. All the more so because of what the set (and costume) designer, Romanie Harper, has done with a single wall and three doors. Yes, I know it sounds bland, but it is anything but.
Directed by Prue Clark, The Violent Outburst That Drew You To Me is a little gem. It’s playing at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until 18 May 2019.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Fierce (Theatre Works) – theatre review
- Travesties (Bloomsday in Melbourne) – theatre review
- Four Dogs and a Bone (Q44 Theatre) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.