Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres. 13 Feb 2019
A British critic already has described Extinguished Things as “an achingly beautiful piece of theatre”. It is the perfect phrase and can’t be bettered.
Molly Taylor, she of the Love Letters to the Public Transport System which triumphed in Fringe 2018, now explores an insignificant corner of suburban Liverpool, a nondescript flat left suddenly empty after the death of its long-term occupants. Molly tells its story from a gently banal setting, a world of beige carpet and tired old lace curtains. Two standard lamps stand incongruously side by side, the only lights left in the house now that the light of life is gone.
There’s a box of vinyl records and a table with tea-makings. This poignantly prosaic set has been designed by Naomi Kuyck-Cohen. The play itself is directed by Jade Lewis with lighting by Zac Macro and sound by Miguel James, the slick team behind playwright Molly Taylor's productions.
Molly Taylor is a playwright of multi award-winning distinction. Her plays are like paeons to the artistry of the well-written word. Oh, how exquisitely she can turn a phrase or pierce the heart with a one-word profundity.
Her observations: “the drumbeat of pulse”; “the most wasted sensation - feeling alive”; "into the brain like a splinter”; “the imperfect outline” of their lives. Of the flat and its nondescript shards of 40 years of marriage, she gasps at “the cathedral of it all”.
The story line of Extinguished Things is simple. Molly once cat-sat for her neighbours, Al and Evie, and she still has the spare keys to their flat. Now they can never come home again. Molly simply can’t resist trespassing and exploring the silent echoes of their lives. And thus, she softly pokes around, she sits and reflects, makes a cup of tea, and she marvels at the kept things of their world, the minutiae of their lives. Oh, how briefly the flame of life is here to flicker. What’s it all about?
Extinguished Things is an existential wonderland and yet, in Molly’s narration, words and thoughts flow like reams of luscious silk and the audience sits spellbound. It is a richness, rare and sage.
When: 13 Feb to 3 Mar
Where: Holden Street Theatres