The Breakout at The Mill
Until 16 Mar 2019

Review by Jamie Wright

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

Clara is a bored teenager, at odds with her single-parent father; Andrew is the new kid in town – and he has a car. Once they get together and hit the road, they find themselves on a dangerous path.

There’s much to like about this production, from Adelaide playwright Jamie Hornsby and NSW-based Jopuka Productions. While the story itself is, at its heart, one that’s been told many times over both in real life and in fiction (the story of Bonnie & Clyde is referenced by the characters, and there’s a touch of Pumpkin & Honey Bunny from ‘Pulp Fiction’ as well), the other aspects combine to make it an engaging piece of theatre.

There’s a good mix of the humorous and the serious, some social commentary and – probably the most significant – an excellent building of tension. In contrast, I did find some of the events portrayed to be difficult to accept (trying to avoid spoilers, but it’s hard to fathom that their actions would not draw more attention from authorities or that people would react as described in certain situations). Showing the scene where the two get to know each other – rather than referencing it later – might have served the narrative better since we could have used a little bit more insight into both characters.

Under the direction of Danielle Brame Whiting, performances from both Gabrielle Brooks and Beau Wilson were convincing, conveying a wide range of emotions, demonstrating comic timing and at times portraying other characters. There’s some great dialogue – Clara’s opening scene is very well done – though at other times the words didn’t quite come across as natural-sounding. There’s good use of the small space – though a lot of the scenes take place while the couple are in a car, which gets a bit repetitive.

It does get a bit messy at the very end – a couple of technical issues didn’t help – but there’s a lot of potential on display here. Hoping to see more from all involved.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)