Blackbird Solus Productions 2024SOLUS Productions. The Studio - Holden Street Theatres. 4 Apr 2024


Hunting down and confronting, face to face, the other half of a traumatically complex relationship 15 years later is a very big, very dangerous thing to do.


Una (Monika Lapka) does it. Ray (Marc Clement) is understandably anxious and disturbed by the sudden, most unwelcome presence of Una in front of him in the trash littered back room of the office building he works in.


Theirs is essentially a broken relationship seeking unmet need for closure, with much darker undertones and forces involved than expected, as Una begins pushing Ray about so many, many things needing explanation. Ray resists. Yet he too, finds a need to have many things revealed and explained.


Keys to this disturbing, electric, fast moving, thought provoking, emotive confrontation are age, experience, innocence, abuse, and love. All bound in a relationship that should have never happened.


David Harrower’s writing offers pain, shame, fear and unstintingly bright moments of human power games, transcending age. Games of overriding primordial instinct powered by a girl’s crush and a man’s confused misdirected passion.


This confronting conundrum is embodied and explored by Clement and Lapka with a delicate honesty belying the black and blue emotional bruises their characters’ have carried hidden within for 15 years.


Those bruises mark a truth both need the other to see. To understand. A truth hard to logically comprehend, because their situation doesn’t fit culturally accepted notions of survival, hurt, and forgiveness. That’s a tough call for an audience. Yet in performance, it’s a call an audience is hooked on, enough to seek answers as deeply as Harrower’s characters do.


Director Tony Knight states in program notes he merely fine-tuned his cast’s work.

The production substantiates that. Harrower’s writing would not sustain considered pressure to veer towards a predetermined point of view; to operate one dimensionally.


Harrower wrote a work daring to explore and question emotional landscapes and motivations with unflinching direct, morally unencumbered honesty.


A difficult work, but a profoundly effective one as staged by SOLUS Productions.


David O’Brien


When: 2 to 13 April

Where: Holden Street Theatres, The Studio