I don’t read about a play or musical or film before seeing it. The reason: I want the art form to speak for itself.
But taking that approach to Laundry Shoot! is problematic because the narrative is far from straight forward.
This is what I could make out after seeing the 70-minute play before reading the program.
Photos by Alex Winner
A physical education teacher by the name of Danny (Damon Baudin) is stuck in a laundry chute.
Alone and scared out of his wits, he is an atheist, but in desperation he turns to God.
God, in the form of an appealing young woman’s voice, responds and is immediately engaging.
Two postal workers, Maisie (Vitoria Hronopoulos) and Friel (Marco Lawrence) are dealing with their own trauma.
Friel, the elder, is pragmatic and simply wants to get on with the business of delivering letters, while Maisie is intent on stopping and helping, as best she can.
At stake is the end of the world.
The question is what is real and what is imagined (as the lives of the three characters intersect)?
Also in the equation is a missing boy that Danny taught and who we never meet.
Writer Dora Abraham wrote the first draft of Laundry Shoot! more than three years ago.
The work we get to see is six drafts later.
I am afraid to say, even more drafts are needed.
I found the play confusing and underdeveloped.
The set consists of five large, joined cloth panels onto which are projected constantly shifting time frames, starting with 5:37am and including 8:88am!
In use are fog machines, which at one stage results in the front rows of the theatre being totally enveloped. Why was that necessary?
The program refers to this new work combining naturalistic text and dream-like movement to explore the power that fantasy holds.
I desperately wanted more insight into just what was going down.
Given the limitations of the dialogue, the performances themselves were largely impressive.
That is save for the fact that there were occasions when Marco Lawrence was too softly spoken (and I was sitting in the third row with no-one immediately in front of me). He didn’t project well enough.
I noted that mostly when his face wasn’t front on to the audience, but also at one point when it was.
Other than that, the actors performed admirably, so that we could formulate a view of the inherent traits of their characters.
But that alone wasn’t enough for me, as I found myself constantly clock watching.
Nor did the ending shed any greater light on proceedings.
So, for me, Laundry Shoot! remains a work in progress.
Directed by Keegan Bragg, it is playing at Theatre Works, as part of its Soo Fresh Summer Fest, until 13th January, 2024.