And No More Shall We Part

and no more shall we partThe Bakehouse Theatre Company. The Bakehouse Theatre. 15 Jun 2013


Rarely in theatre do I feel a privileged witness to momentous events in person’s lives, almost embarrassed to be in the same room with palms sweating and a lump in my throat, but I was thusly moved in the presence of characters Don and Pam created with nearly unbearable verisimilitude by veteran performers Jacqy Phillips and Peter Green.


The lights come up with Don at Pam’s bedside in an uneasy conversation. At some point, you will learn that this is a play about dying with dignity and now everything they say is intensely important. Someone must lead in bravery and they both must accept the inevitable. We flashback to how the journey began with that deadly diagnosis. Yasmin Gurreeboo – only eight months in SA from her native Britain - chose film for this, which is displayed on a huge screen initially disguised as a large picture window. Shot largely in close-up the detail of the couple’s anguish is writ large and empathy naturally results. It was awesome.


I was initially captivated by how two people view a past event – an unforgettable memory for one and forgotten by the other - yet the theme of love and understanding, with a little black humour thrown in, is not talked about but shown by what people do when they have to. There is also great irony in the juxtaposition of the mundane and the profound.  


It is the film performances that stick in my mind, but it would be a toss up to give Phillips and Green Tony awards or Oscars, or both. The task of managing multi-award winning Australian playwright Tom Holloway’s oft times overly repetitive dialogue, like, “I went to the shop.” followed by “You went to the shop?” was not always mastered by these masterful actors but that’s more Holloway’s problem and not theirs, and small beer in this riveting and heart-rendering production.


Designer Manda Webber’s set was deceptively simple for the task of showing both film and the present action, and Daniel Thorpe’s score underwrote the intensity of the performances.


You should be dying to see this show. Bravo! Bravo!


David Grybowski


When: 15 to 29 Jun

Where: The Bakehouse Theatre