An Almost Perfect Thing @ The Blue Room
Tuesday, August 15, 2018
Directed by Gabrielle Metcalf
Written by Nicole Moeller
Lust, pain, passion, and loneliness. Nicole Moeller’s thrilling drama An Almost Perfect Thing, showing at The Blue Room, Northbridge until this Saturday, August 26, was a uniquely chilling experience for an icy Tuesday evening.
The drama pulls apart preconceived notions of our right to the truth through absorbing you into a story that will warp and bend your emotions. An Almost Perfect Thing is an engaging piece of thoughtful theatre directed by local Perth talent Gabrielle Metcalf.
The story untangles an intricate story of a young girl named Chloe (Daisy Coyle) who was famously abducted at age 11 and held captive for seven years. Chloe has found freedom, however struggles to mould back into everyday life with the spotlight on her and pressure from both the public and the police to reveal her tale. Refusing to expose her kidnapper’s (Nick Maclaine) identity, Chloe is possessive of her story. She will only unveil snippets to a high profile journalist (Andrew Hale) with whom she is simultaneously falling obsessively in love with.
Entering The Blue Room theatre the aura was stagnant. Naked mannequins loitered at the edges of the stage and two men sat in the dark on small metal chairs dressed identically in black on opposite ends. The play started in a staggered manner with scenes bouncing between different time frames and perspectives. As an audience member it took a moment to come to grips with its clever structure and peculiar characters. Each one engaged directly with the audience throughout, re-counting their experience of Chloe’s story as little by little she opened up and re-lived her kidnapping.
Minimal use of props and set design throughout the play gave it an alluring stripped back impression. Music rendered a consequential role, intensifying the atmosphere and eeriness in moments, one most notably after a climactic violent scene where the use of a lullaby chiming in the background was hair-raising.
An Almost Perfect Thing reveals the bare bones of theatre nearly totally relying upon the actors’ sheer ability to captivate their audience — and captivate they did. The play captures a unique and thought-provoking side to the rawness and recklessness of human plight as it delves into a kaleidoscope of control, love, and survival.
Through Gabrielle Metcalf’s outstanding direction, compelling parallels are made between the kidnapper and the journalist, right from the beginning. From the way that they’re dressed to the way they both display a desperate need to use Chloe for their own personal agenda, the characters almost feed off each other.
The only reservation that I had with the play was that it was overwhelmingly frigid. I found it difficult to make any empathetic connections with the characters because each came across as quite self-indulgent. Despite the fact that a resistance to display vulnerability was a key trait to Chloe’s character, the concept of her ‘controlling’ her captor for such a long period of time was almost frustrating.
The traits of each character exposed the most uncomfortable qualities of humanity and did so in a theatrically brilliant manner. It was a gut wrenching experience that managed to really thwart any preconceived ideas about what it might be like to be a victim of such a heinous crime in the media spotlight. The actors performed outstandingly as victims of their own desires.
An Almost Perfect Thing stands as a piece of clever, twisted, and at times beautiful work that distorts and tests the concept of love; the truth laid out for us in the end does not sooth.
Photos by Pixel Poetry