Confronting, raw and filled with countless seat squirms, Morgan Rose’s Lord Willing The Creek Don’t Rise is a claustrophobic nightmare with bursts of ironic comedy and horrific twists.
Set in northern Queensland following a devastating flood, Lord Willing is a hot and sticky displacement from the chilly Melbourne weather during MKA’s Double Feature season. As the sweat drips from each of the actors’ foreheads the play wreaks of despair the audiences are introduced to a story of isolation and anguish. Pair a natural disaster with dysfunctional couple Earl (Kevin Kiernan-Molloy) and Suzy (Morgan Maguire), and an elderly woman Miss Claire (Jan Firedl),who seems as battered as the devastated town, and Morgan Rose creates the ultimate shitstorm!
The play establishes mood and tone in a wonderfully edgy combination of aggrivated characters and alienating light and sound design from Amelia Lever-Davidson and SS.Sebastian. By pairing a flash of light and an abrupt sound clip that would put anyone’s teeth on edge the design team help to link scenes and build tension in stark outbursts as confronting as each of Earl’s epileptic fits. In stark contrast to his design for Lucky, Matthew Addey’s set design enhances the fragile existence of the town, characters and relationships through the use of a chaotic jungle gym-esque set piece that acts as the couple’s home, a building top and a variation of entrances and exits. The jungle gym set piece is as distressed and complicated as the characters that inhabit it, and paired with a graffiti art wall reminiscent to the psychotic ramblings from The Shining. With nothing but alcohol, the heat and arguments to pass the time while the town is stuck in limbo, tensions wear thin and the very fabrication of reality is torn at the seams. Reality is definitely burnt away as the play transitions from a relatively naturalistic kitchen sink drama into a surreal illustration of Earl’s disillusioned psyche.
Where the play itself falters is the introduction of Jerome (Peter Paltos) and the complexities his character drags through Suzy and Earl’s front door. Jerome felt more of a deliberate device than a developed character with his antagonistic defiance and chaotic outbursts that seem to simply exist to aggravate Earl rather than illustrate character. The focal cast, however, were wonderfully chosen, with Kat Henry’s fluid direction allowing audiences to struggle their way to the outstanding conclusion. Friedl’s comic timing as Miss Claire added a welcomed comedic element to the play’s otherwise uncomfortable tension. Maguire’s endearing yet fiesty portrayal of Suzy seems effortless and exacerbating. Her relationship with Earl, while clearly poisonous and unbalanced, is a driving consistent force until the final moments of the play’s otherwise unhinged constructs. However it is Kiernan-Molloy’s portrayal of Earl’s hopeless journey that steals the performance. Behind a scraggily beard and mismatched costume Kiernan-Molloy kicks down door of his own story and gains our sympathy as he frantically attempts to reattach it back onto its hinges.
To view the review of MKA’s Double Feature’s production of Lucky click here.
– Written by Rhumer Diball May 27th 2015
LORD WILLING THE CREEK DON’T RISE( MKA’S DOUBLE FEATURE) PRESENTED BY MELBOURNE THEATRE COMPANY
THURS 14 – SAT 24 MAY 2015.