Bus Boy believes he’s a bus whenever he climbs on his bike. Isolated on Rottnest Island, he knows all the routes on the mainland. He can get you to where you need to be, he just can’t look you in the eye.
When Jerry (writer Izzy McDonald) arrives on Rotto for her boyfriend’s cricket wind up she is forced, unexpectedly, to relive past moments where she wasn’t quite in control. Bonding over meat pies and Bus Boy’s infectious personality, the unlikely pair develop an instant friendship.
Director Geordie Crawley has created a set that is both symbolic and practical – a stationary bike becomes Bus Boy’s wings as he flies all over the island. There are some beautiful moments on this bike; Jerry lifts her arms as if in flight, closes her eyes and lets the wind cleanse her. McDonald’s strength is how the plot is unfurled in layers – each action or word reveals more and more. She is able to create poetic moments out of confronting material.
Jerry is an interesting character – she wrestles with herself over her actions – she wonders if she is responsible for the things that happen to her, or if it is other people’s actions. Jerry sometimes does dumb things. Sometimes she pulls other people into her wake. McDonald creates a very sympathetic Jerry – her bravado becomes unstuck when probed, and a defensive mask almost appears to form in her eyes. However, it is Sean Guastavino‘s Bus Boy that is utterly compelling – he navigates the challenge of portraying a person on the autism spectrum with care and respect. Guastavino is charming; his intonation and repetition is just subtle enough to hint at a communication barrier, yet endearing – you want to champion for him.
Bus Boy is a wonderful gem of a show. It pulls at your heart strings, and creates an interesting philosophical debate. It’s genuinely funny and brilliantly written – Rorschach Beast really get it right when Macdonald writes and Crawley directs. Go and see this unmissable show!
Review | Laura Money
WHEN: 20 – 23 June 2018 | 7:00pm
WHERE: Subiaco Arts Centre | Subiaco | PERTH
INFO: Tickets $25 – $28 | Duration 70 mins | No interval | Part of Subiaco Theatre Festival | Suitable 15+ | Warning: references to sexual assault