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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Gist (Uninvited Theatre) at Bard's Apothecary - 50 minutes

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

It is a play unlike any other. In fact, it is a 50-minute interrogation. There is tension in the air and we – the audience – are flies on the wall … listening in and watching intently.

Murder is afoot and a woman known to police, Dolly (Kellie Tori), is being grilled by Detective Rowlinson (Claire Nicholls).

Dolly talks at the rate of knots and knows how the “game” is played. To that end, she dismisses many of the detective’s overtures.

Photos by Cameron Sievers and Kellie Tori

Still, there are moments when Dolly is not so cocky … when what the cop tells her sees her fleetingly taken aback.

In essence though, it appears that Dolly is willing to concoct a narrative to fit the situations and characters Detective Rowlinson is describing.

For her part, the detective is simply not buying what Dolly is selling.

The pair metaphorically circle each other … repeatedly. The cop is determined to crack the case, but that would take real buy in from Dolly, who gives as good as she gets.

Many characters are introduced and questions asked in this two-hander, which requires concentration to follow.

Who stabbed Rennie Fischer? What was Jerry’s role in the homicide? Where is Benny Fogarty? When does Marco Oswaldo hold court at The Gatehouse? Why did Dolly kill June Whitfield’s terrier? And how does all of this fit together?

Heavily dialogue driven, the words come tumbling out at pace – rat-a-tat-tat.

Written and directed by Cameron Sievers, I found The Gist stimulating and frustrating.

Infused with attitude, the performances are first rate. There is conviction behind the fighting words that are uttered.

For a play to succeed you have to believe what you are seeing and that I most certainly did.

Tori and Nicolls are compelling.

I was drawn in by the crimes and the character references, but wanted to know more about them. So, too, the back stories of the two protagonists.

Also, a resolution would have been nice, but this is not that sort of play. It is designed as a mind bender.

Just when you think Dolly or the detective have the upper hand, there is a return of serve and the game continues.

The Gist is playing until 19th November in an intimate, underground setting appropriate to the tenor of the offering, namely Bard’s Apothecary in the CBD.

Next, it moves to Tin Pot Café in Fitzroy from November 23rd to 26th, 2022.


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