Printable CopyBLACKROCK
Holden Street Theatres
Until 24 Feb 2019

Review by Talia Gaertner-Jones

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

Presented by Glassroom Theatre Company, Blackrock is an Australian play written by playwright Nick Enright. Enright adapted the play from one of his other works “A Property of the Clan” that is based on the murder of Leigh Leigh in Stockton, Australia, 1989. Once researching the murder further, Blackrock has taken on a new meaning for me than what was presented on stage.

Jack Cummins, the director, producer and lead actor of this show plays Jared, an angsty teen who is caught between the truth and lies relating to the rape and murder of ‘Tracy’ a girl in his town. Spencer Fullgrabe who played multiple characters brought a shining light to the show as Roy. Even though Roy only appeared briefly towards the end of the show, Fullgrabe’s comic timing and character was well worth the wait. Ella Buckingham as Cherie Milenko was strong in character and her scenes when talking to ‘Tracy’ after she had died were some of the most memorable of the show. Another gutsy performance came from Milie Sanford in her role of Rachel Ackland. Sanford and Buckingham portrayed their characters well, they were believable, and their emotions showed that they had an understanding of the story they were telling. Because that’s what Blackrock is – it is a re-telling of a true story and I wasn’t convinced that some of the actors had committed or had a true understanding of their story. It was difficult to understand some of the dialogue, especially during the beach party scene, as the majority of the actors were speaking at the same high intensity level and not focusing on their diction.

It was interesting to me to watch the show and develop an intense dislike towards all the key male characters and then read in the Director’s Notes in the programme that Cummins said that “…I was surprised by how Blackrock wasn’t a typical ‘the guys are assholes, the women are victims’ play” adding that ‘Blackrock provides us with an insight as to why they occur in the first place”. Cummins unbelievably makes this statement about a play that focuses mainly on the ill-treatment of women through violence, multiple rapes and murder. Women who are violated through no fault of their own. And once again a play that is focusing on a true story of a girl, who through the media at the time was victim blamed. It shows how little has changed in society over the last few decades and how still people today fail to understand that those to blame need to be held to account.

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)