Instantaneous Blue: The full effect isn’t instantaneous, but it gets there.

Publicity photo for Instantaneous Blue

This is heartbreaking: Patti Allan and Tom McBeath in Instantaneous Blue.
(Image by Shimon Photo)

Aaron Craven’s new script Instantaneous Blue rings with the authority of personal experience. And director David Mackay is working with extraordinary actors. The play is moving. The production works. And, not to be a nerd or anything, but there are things to be learned here about structure.

Mitch and Murray Productions, the producing company, is billing Instantaneous Blue as a semi-autobiographical story. In 2016, both of playwright Craven’s parents were diagnosed with cognitive decline: Alzheimer’s and dementia. In the play, that’s what happens to Edward, who struggles with his new responsibilities to his parents, the shock of their transformations, the demands of his acting career and status as a new dad, and the temptation to take it all out on his wife.

Throughout Act 1, there are quiet moments of truth. As Judith and Bob, Edward’s mom and dad, are getting increasingly addled and anxious, music plays and they suddenly, instinctively gravitate to one another, embrace, and dance: for a moment at least, they’re safe. Edward is auditioning for a film role and he can’t remember his fucking lines: you can feel the floor falling away beneath him. And the look on Edward’s face as he watches paramedics forcibly restrain then sedate his raging mother is pure, silent tragedy. When Edward’s wife Sara finally speaks after being endlessly put down by Edward’s knee-jerk sarcasm, it’s a gut punch: “I want to tell you everything, my love,” she says.

You couldn’t ask for better actors. Charlie Gallant (Edward) has the gift of transparency. Patti Allan fearlessly drives the out-of-control car of Judith’s mood swings. And Tom McBeath brings touching delicacy to Bob’s attempts to make everything okay. The kindness, generosity, and unadorned sense of presence that actor Olivia Hutt brings to Sara grounds the evening.

[Read more…]

Sign up—free!—

YEAH, THIS IS ANNOYING. But my theatre newsletter is fun!

Sign up and get curated international coverage + local reviews every Thursday!