Reviewed by Kate Gaul
Fairly Lucid Productions presents Ben Noble in this searing drama, “Member”. This solo performance, accompanied by live cello (Simone Seales) tells the fictionalised tale of Corey - a man who, as a child, was forced to participate in horrific hate crimes against gay men in 70s Sydney, Australia. Burying the past, he grows up to lead as normal a life as he can, until his son winds up in hospital. Based on the gay hate crimes that occurred on Sydney’s beaches between the 1970’s and 90’s, resulting in as many as 80 murders and 30 unsolved cases to this day, we are presented with a gruesome Australian history lesson.
Fairly Lucid Productions is an Australian independent theatre company with giant ideas that invites their audiences to observe, think, discuss. They aim to push boundaries with their performances, presenting work that is courageous, compassionate and embraces humility, with a strong focus on new work. “Member” has had critically successful seasons all around Australia. If you love serious drama and great performance, sthen add “Member” to your calendar!
The simple design with 2 institutional looking chairs, a couple of hospital screens are enough to keep the present of the play in our minds. The musician sits on an elevated platform. Ben Noble imaginatively transforms the tiny performance space the production occupies into hospital, beachside, neighbours’ houses, behind a couch – with ease. The play itself is multi authored by Noble with additional words from Ro Bright, Meg Courtney, Björn Deigner, Dan Giovannoni, Elise Esther Hearst, and Finegan Kruckemeyer. It never feels disjointed. In fact, its flow is why it is easy to follow the jumps in times and locations as Corey’s story unravels. All elegantly directed by David Wood and supported by Simoine Seales on cello, the addition of the live music is a superb counterpoint to the text and helps colour locations as themes return.
This is tough material to revisit every day and is testimony to Ben Noble’s commitment to shine a light into the dark recesses of Australian gay history. Sadly, these stories are way too frequent worldwide. Bravo to Ben and his team! Take some tissues and be carried back in time. The play delivers a dark twist I didn’t see coming and that’s great writing and performing!