The Darker

The DarkerAdelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre. 17 Feb 2014

Men are bastards. They admit it

This is the revelation of ‘The Darker’, a one-hander written and directed by Martin Christmas and performed by David Daradan.

It depicts Dave, a man exploring the aspects of his maleness - and, perchance, maleness in general. It's a pretty rough business. The premise of the play is that within the man there is a dark streak, a demonic core. Dave explains this with a demonstration in which "demon" is the operative part of the word. He’s pretty literal about it, writhing and cursed, yelling and having tantrums. Music and lights emphasise his angst and stress, accompanying him on a journey to self-destruction. The lurking demon breaks through the civilized veneer. There is a gentle man, but not for long. He is easily usurped by nasty, brutal, lustful and violent.

Christmas seems to have conceived Dave as an unpleasant character from the outset. With boorish indifference, Dave throws everything he uses onto the floor. He does nothing to gain audience sympathy. He is offensive, self-justfying and self-centred.

David Daradan, playing this dark Dave in the dense intimacy of the Bakehouse Studio theatre, grabs command of his audience immediately, asserting the imposing presence of a teacher. But, as things progress, it's glasses off, glasses on, glasses off... His expressions contort so dramatically one could believe that there are, indeed, different beasts. The teacher is replaced by the bully, the masturbator et al.

Daradan, light on his feet and making good contact with his audience, shows textbook skills in mood change. He takes the audience on a harrowing voyage of a male only tenuously in control of civilized self.

The venue is very small. There is a lot of shouting. Very loud shouting. Yelling. It is what you'd call an in-your-face, intense piece of theatre - and not for the faint-hearted.

Samela Harris

When: 17 to 22 Feb
Where: Bakehouse Theatre Studio