Camden New Journal
Playwright Van Badham has witnessed the fall-out of global capitalism in her home town of Wollongong, Australia. She has translated her experience into three short plays that scream comment on politics and society in an over-developed world.
The first play, Kitchen, portrays the power struggles between husband and wife, the frenzied carer woman and her male counterpart, the employer and the employee. It is 50 minutes of psychological, physical and political aggression. Emma Forster is intimidating as Helene, the contract-wielding queen, devouring her pawn's faculties: "Owen, in the stock exchange of life, you're a bear market - you're high risk and no return, whereas I'm blue-chip."
With a picket line in the kitchen, sex as a weapon and cannibalism for dessert, this play leaves little to the imagination and there is no relief from its high velocity, high anger.
The second play, Morning on a Rainy Day is a sad, gritty dialogue of infidelity and sexual vulnerability played out in a bed by Polly and Ben (Sally Proctor and Paul Jellis). It is an honest depiction of today's faltering relationships unhinged by immediate intimacy.
To end is Capital, a quick fix of anti-America post 9/11. Bob and Jim, played superlatively by Simon Darwen and George Perrin, have minutes to spin atrocities reigned down on Afghan children by US troops into an admirable tale of liberation.
Considering the play was written before the war in Iraq, it is mind-blowing how prophetic Badham has been.
James Grieve's direction is powerfully tight, with great attention to detail. The performances are exaggerated to the point of overdoing it, but the characters only appear larger than life when confined to the theatre. Badham's message is clear: in reality these people are loose in society, working their evil as potently as in the play, but nobody is watching. Terrifying.