For anyone who has ever had an argument with their partner, Closer displays a confronting reality about the way adults deal with relationship dramas. 

 Brisbane Arts TheatreBrisbane Arts Theatre, Petrie Terrace Saturday, 29 May, 2010  For anyone who has ever had an argument with their partner, Closer displays a confronting reality about the way adults deal with relationship dramas. While individual experiences may not be as dramatic, vile or fierce, the play reflects accounts of jealousy and passion that can drive one mad. Sex, lies and scandal make for an interesting story, but unfortunately this was a mostly flat interpretation. Although there were some brave and revealing performances from the cast, it was a shame the overall show didn’t dig deeper to fully expose the script’s candid and powerful qualities.  It’s hard to imagine that two couples could swap partners so many times, but with unhinged personalities such as those in Closer, it’s believable. Alice loves Dan, and Dan loves Alice, but he also loves Anna. Anna loves Larry but she also loves Dan. Larry and Alice don’t love one another but find getting together a great form of escape and revenge on Dan and Alice. The characters indulge their selfishness and stroke their egos as they partake in affairs and go after what they want at the time. They never resist temptation and rarely consider the consequences of their actions.  Izabela Wasilewska brought the most personality to her character Anna. The composed and intelligent woman is unchallenged and bored by the men in her life. Wasilewska mirrored the portrayal Julia Roberts delivered as Anna in the film adaptation of Closer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Katie Dowling as Alice was less engaging, however by far she took on the bravest and most difficult role as the troubled young woman. She successfully portrayed Alice’s confident facade, balancing the fine line between that and her character’s obvious insecurities. It’s a shame only the surface of Alice was scratched, leaving her deeper issues unexposed. The same problem occurred with the characters of Dan and Larry. With his loathsome weakness and lack of respect for others, Dan is a completely unlikeable character. Peter Norton did an ok job with this role, but it was mostly two dimensional. James Fitzgerald’s portrayal of Larry was again only skin-deep and a tad unbelievable. It would have been good to see more of Larry’s wickedly brash and sadistic qualities. This play is all about the characters and requires little set and prop detail to project the story. However, in this case the show could have used a more interesting backdrop to compensate for the lackluster interaction between the cast.  Lighting was also an issue. Much of the time it was dim, reduced light, in what I think was an attempt to highlight the claustrophobic relationships, but instead it hindered the audience’s view.  A play like this requires more punch to have an affect. The strong, coarse language and adult themes don’t make their mark without the intensity behind it. Still, it was a good effort from Brisbane Arts Theatre, tackling such a rich play. Bookings at Until 19 June, 2010


Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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