Saturday 2 March 2024

Dry Land review

Amy and Ester share very little in common, apart from their place in the school swim team. But dive a little deeper and these two women discover they actually have many things in common, as well as secrets of their own. In Ruby Rae Spiegel's Dry Land, we are introduced to the (private) lives of schoolgirls and the real issues they are facing.

Luce Wirthensohn (Amy) and Cassidy Dunn (Ester) have a great ability in giving layered performances for their complex characters, but they are let down by a script that throws too much at them and the characters end up being driven by the narrative rather than driving the narrative. Dry Land would have been far more effective had we focused on the relationship between Amy and Ester, and by extension their individual lives, and not introduced to a number of secondary characters that add little to the story.

There’s no denying Spiegel has put plenty of thought in constructing the stories of Amy and Ester, but Dry Land requires some editing and cuts, particularly with knowing how to end the show. There is a climatic moment between the two in the change room that would have been a fitting way to close, but three additional scenes follow, that diminish its powerful impact.

Dion Spyropoulos' sound design, which is used during scene changes, represents the sense of release these two people are yearning for. Its gentleness and calmness is a reference to the freeness that Amy and Ester feel when they are swimming in the water.

Abbey Stanway's change room set design is functional but successful in supporting the idea of how the swimming pool is where Amy and Ester can escape the pressures and frustrations they are facing while highlighting the importance this environment plays in their lives.

Dry Land is the first production by new theatre collective flatpack and the company delivers on its promise for bold storytelling and presenting theatre that tackles serious subjects. It's unfortunate that Dry Land has some inherent hurdles with plot and character development that weighs this production down.

Show Details

Venue: Theatre Works Explosives Factory, 67 Inkerman St, St. Kilda
Season: until 9 Mar | Tues - Sat 7:30pm
Duration: 90 minutes
Tickets: $35 Full | $28 Concession | 20 for $20
 Theatre Works

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