Right Now (Red Stitch) – theatre review

Desire, loss and madness are in the spotlight in the Australian premiere of Right Now. This comedic drama asks the question: what’s real and what is imagined?

Quebecois playwright Catherine-Anne Toupin wrote the play, and Chris Campbell translated it from the French.

Photo: Jodie Hutchinson

Alice (Christina O’Neill) is a beautiful young woman. She’s been married for three years to a hard-working doctor, Ben (Dushan Phillips). Nearly six months ago they moved into an apartment and have tastefully redecorated one room. Alice spends her days alone at home awaiting her husband’s return. His passion for her has cooled. One day a firestorm sweeps into Alice’s life by way of Juliette (Olga Makeeva). She’s lives in the flat across the hall, and has recently returned from overseas. Not backward in coming forward, Juliette barges into Alice’s apartment, making herself right at home.

Juliette isn’t one for boundaries. Neither is her awkward son, Francois (Mark Wilson), or husband, Giles (Joe Petruzzi). When the three appear on the doorstep in a subsequent scene, it’s undoubtedly one of the play’s high points. Not afraid of asking deeply personal questions, invading personal space and making outrageous statements the trio makes their presence well and truly felt. It turns out Doctor Ben is a fan of Giles’ writing; and before long the quintet is spending a lot of time together. Several hilarious but inappropriate conversations follow.

A deep sadness underlines the play. Alice and Ben lost a child and Alice still constantly hears the infant’s cries. You never quite get a fix on just what’s going on or where the narrative will travel next. Then, Right Now takes a massive turn and everything you thought you knew is suddenly even more puzzling. Nothing is what it seems.

Photo: Jodie Hutchinson

Right Now is seductive and shocking. It teases and thrills. Katy Maudlin directs the play tightly, bringing out some vibrant performances. Olga Makeeva and Mark Wilson are scene-stealers. In a pair of most bizarre roles, they deliver several priceless lines.

Regardless of the fact it does your head in, Right Now remains engaging and most entertaining. I defy you to pick it apart and make sense of it all. Running for 75 minutes without interval, it’s playing at Red Stitch Theatre until 20 May 2018.

Alex First

Other reviews you might enjoy: