Trail’s End

Trails end Adelaide Fringe 2024

Jannali Jones. Adelaide Fringe. Domain Theatre. 16 Feb 2024


Trail’s End is a story about a young Aboriginal man , Sam (played by Dylan Miller) who is struggling to find positive cultural visibility in a mixed family, and not to be seen as or feel alien in his own country. Sam and his half-brother Jamie (James Goodlife) have faced family upheaval and are struggling. Sam and Jamie share a bond, but they have grown up differently, and Sam feels Jamie is the favoured son because he is ‘white’. They decide to go on a hike in the country to clear their heads and to reconnect with each other, but it doesn’t turn out well for either of them, though for different reasons.


Trail’s End is written by Jannali Jones who is an award-winning Gunai/Kurnai writer, and she has surrounded herself with a production team of mostly indigenous creatives. Their commitment and passion to the project is palpable.


At a time when the outcome of the Voice referendum is still so disturbing to many, the plot of Trail’s End should have been fertile territory for some powerful storytelling, but it just skims the surface of many issues. Coming in at only 45 minutes, a number of plot ideas could have been more thoroughly developed to make the characters more complex and interesting. Essentially the story is underwritten, which results in the actors frequently struggling to make dramatic impact. There are moments when one senses the action is going to “kick off”, but such moments are brief and infrequent.


Trail’s End is Charlie Barwa ‘s directing debut, and she has perhaps tried to include too many special effects (especially lighting) which don’t always land a punch and in some ways deprive the actors of opportunities to flex their acting muscles.


Miller and Goodlife both have a natural and uncomplicated style on stage and mostly handle conflicting emotions well.


Kym Clayton


When: 16 Feb to 3 Mar

Where: Domain Theatre and Goodwood Theatre and Studios