K.I.J.E. is tough and tight and for the first time (I think ever), I am going to say, too short. 

Presented by: Tamarama Rock Surfers and Crow Crow Productions 
Venue: Old Fitzroy Hotel, Woolloomooloo

Wednesday, 13 July, 2011 

Fayssal Bazzi and TJ PowerK.I.J.E. is tough and tight and for the first time (I think ever), I am going to say, too short. In my opinion, a short show is a good show and after sitting through the trending hour upon hour epics that theatre seemed to be heading toward in Australia, this reversal to short and sharp is refreshing. However with K.I.J.E. I was left wanting more, it felt a little bit like the entrée to a main meal.
The story revolves around a throw away little white lie that snowballs to a point where the instigators must kill their own creation in order to survive. A group of four army buddies (Fayssal Bazzi, Wade Briggs, Gabriel Fancourt and TJ Power) are caught with a can of spray paint and awkwardly create a fall guy to take the blame. The only problem with lies is they have to be followed through on and their commanding officer (Christopher Tomkinson) grins while watching them trying to prove their fib.  The strength of the piece is it’s ability to play with humour and tension at the same time but this is also its weakness. The script, performances and direction are all strong but keep hitting their marks and then dissolving, leaving that hungry feeling again. The story uses army-in-the-dead-of-war to highlight the themes of truth and honour but just as the tension escalates and it feels like there will be a payoff it ends and the humour returns. It sometimes feels like there isn’t too much at stake. 
The introduction of the character simply credited as Girl (Michele Durman) is when the tension and pace begin to run like a freight train. Each character separates from ‘generic army guy’ and each differing reaction brings the audience to the edge of their seat and the desire to resolve the situation.
The set, costumes, music and sound, performance style and direction are all pared back and beautifully stylised which works well with the script and the original story along with the horrors of war and how they can start from an innocent fib is intriguing and timely. If only it were about thirty minutes longer, for at least a two-course meal.  Runs from July 8 – 30, 2011 Book tickets HERE  K.I.J.E. was is written by Joanna Erskine 

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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