Review | Laura Money
Hard-hitting and intense, DIRT by Angus Cameron is a stunning two-hander that explores the emotional barriers we put up to avoid vulnerability. Examining homosexual relationships in Russia, the performers are cagy and wary of one another, creating a tense atmosphere that hints at espionage. It’s a compelling and intelligent delve into oppression and persecution and international relations. Cameron’s script is sharp and fast-paced, and just cryptic enough to ensure you’ll be turning it over in your mind once the lights come back up.
Wil King kicks things off timidly asking tour guide Patrick Livesey some extra questions long after their tour is over. Standing in the audience as Livesey remains on stage, King slowly ekes their way up the aisle unsure if Livesey’s answers are genuine or not. Livesey’s performance is first-class – their accent doesn’t waver for a second, Russian inflection perfectly matching their cryptic tone. Poor King isn’t sure how seriously to take this enigmatic figure. King is seemingly guileless in their depiction of a young journalist with ulterior motives. Their unwavering puppy-dog energy the perfect counter to Livesey’s caginess.
Seamless scene changes and a dramatic lighting design give the audience time to catch their breath with Bronwen Coleman‘s clever direction. Coleman encourages a sense of anticipation as Cameron’s script slowly lays out more clues. It is King and Livesey’s phenomenal acting skills, however that combine with Coleman’s visionary direction that show rather than tell the pain and struggles facing the main characters. Even in portions where Livesey imparts their story it is subtly intense, not a pin drop could be heard – Livesey’s restraint and pent up heartache burst to the surface in a poignant expression of true pain.
DIRT by Angus Cameron is played to perfection by this incredible duo. Their chemistry is undeniable, and their development of character both provide a masterclass in performance. As each character’s situation becomes more intense, they both rise to the occasion and react in a realistic manner. It’s a cat and mouse game that raises questions with every piece of dialogue. Set in modern day Russia, where it is illegal to partake in homosexual acts, the characters in DIRT push the limits of transgression, taking trust to a whole new level. $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network and the Moscow Community Center for LGBT+ Initiatives. And if that isn’t reason enough to see this show, let the brilliant writing, directing, and phenomenal acting persuade you as well.
DIRT by Angus Cameron is playing at The Girls School until 5th February 2022. TICKETS
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The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.