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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Berlin at The MC Showroom - 75 minutes

Joanna Murray-Smith’s remarkable insight, attention to detail and writing prowess are front and centre in a captivating production of Berlin at The MC Showroom.

Australian Tom (Lachlan Hamill) has just landed in the German capital, keen to get to know the real city, not the tourist offering.

He’s directed to a small watering hole, where he meets and is immediately drawn to local bar worker, Charlotte (Georgia Latchford).

Now it is 1am. The establishment is closed and it is just the two of them at her place. She’s offered him her couch for the night.

Their chat becomes playful and vigorous.

Photo by Matto Lucas

They dance around each other in an attempt to get to know each other better.

The spark between them is tangible as they reveal snippets about themselves.

She is a student and writer, keen to become a poet.

He says he’s into “industrial espionage”.

As Tom tries to get her into bed, they appear to have similar musical tastes and she matches him stride for stride in conversation.

They talk about their recent dating history.

We learn that her parents separated when she was only seven.

Her father is a “hedge fund guy” living in London, while her mother is a “narcissistic sculptor” in Berne.

She was six when her four-year-old brother was killed in a tragic accident, after chasing a ball onto the street.

He received a little windfall after he was involved in a fatal car crash.

We find out that he is Jewish on his mother’s side and that he decided to visit Germany because his great grandfather used to live there.

Then the inevitable happens, but it’s once the deed is done that things change considerably.

That happens when she catches him out on his mobile and, thereafter, the truth outs – the ugly past very much brought into the present.

Tragedy, exploitation and morality become the resounding themes.

Murray-Smith’s (Bombshells, Pennsylvania Avenue) Berlin was inspired by a family trip she took.

It is an extraordinary piece of writing, a sizzling tale of morass and morality, resplendent with intellectual rigour.

It eats into one’s soul. It causes one to reflect … to think and feel, as the two protagonists go toe to toe for 75 minutes.

Many words are spoken. The nuances, expressions and pauses the actors’ bring to the production are critically important.

In a top notch, mature performance, Georgia Latchford has that down pat.

Word perfect, she inhabits her character with poise and polish, adopting a totally credible German accent throughout. She is so impressive.

Lachlan Hamill turns on the boyish charm, bringing Tom’s yin to Charlotte’s yang.

There is much more in this piece than at first meets the eye and Hamill readily channels the mood swings … the changing countenance essential to the work.

He could afford to slow down a tad and let his words and intonation breathe.

Still, both he and Latchford are particularly strong in “the game” of seduction and in stating their respective positions, in character, when it counts.

Director Erica Chestnut has crafted a fine adaptation of Berlin, which is on at The MC Showroom until 30thApril, 2023.

* I saw a preview performance of the production.


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