The House on the Lake (Aidan Fennessy)

 

 

Black Swan Theatre Company

State Theatre, Perth

reviewed by Neville Cohn

It is no small achievement for two actors on­stage for ninety unbroken minutes to hold the

undivided attention of an audience. Unexpectedly, the professionalism of actors Kenneth Ransom

and Martha Rovik was particularly tested midway through the performance when a member of the

audience took ill and needed to be assisted out of the theatre by ushers. Auditorium lights came up

very briefly during this hiatus.

An event such as this could so easily have lessened or even nullified the dramatic intensity so

painstakingly built up until that point. But the duo took this event completely in their stride,

maintaining their stage attitudes as if momentarily frozen until the ill theatregoer was assisted out

of the venue. Then, the play continued as if nothing had happened to intrude on its unfolding.

To give away what transpires in the closing moments of the play would be unfair to playgoers who

are yet to experience this fascinating and absorbing theatre piece. Suffice it to say that, in a secure

facility somewhere in the USA, we watch and listen to a series of conversations between lawyer

David Rail and forensic psychologist Dr Alice Lowe. Rail has sustained injuries in an accident ­

and it is the circumstances leading up to and surrounding that event which are the essence of the

play.Kenneth Ransom, Marthe Rovik. The House on The Lake. Photo by Gary Marsh Photography

Occasionally, there was a need for Ransom to project his voice rather more emphatically. This

notwithstanding, ninety minutes flew by.

Trent Suidgeests’s lighting design was discreetly effective – and India Mehta’s set design was

cleverly claustrophobic.

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