The State Theatre Company of South Australia
Odeon Theatre
Until 14 Jul 2018

Review by Jamie Wright

From its stunning opening through to the final scene, “Brothers Wreck” will grip you and take you on a powerful, gut-wrenching journey of suffering and heartbreak.

The Kellys – an indigenous Australian family living in Darwin – know all too much about loss. And when another tragedy looms on the horizon, so soon after the last, it’s too much for Ruben. But his family and his people are there to help him.

Writer/director Jada Alberts' script is brilliant; there’s tension and drama, but it’s balanced with scenes of warmth and a wonderful undercurrent of humour, particularly in the naturalistic dialogue. This insight extends to the direction, with many of the dialogue-free scenes proving as haunting or hilarious as those with conversation. There are constant scene changes, but these are so quick and well-choreographed that there’s no drop in energy.

Dion Williams is exceptional as Ruben, and captures the character’s complex balance of strength and vulnerability. Lisa Flanagan is similarly excellent as Petra, a combination of sharp-tongued wit and matriarchal strength. Nelson Baker and Leonie Whyman are strong as Jarrod and Adele, and Trevor Jamieson gives David, the counsellor, real depth.

Dale Ferguson’s set is perfect for the frequent entrances and exits, and – without giving too much away – provides wonderful atmosphere when the effects begin. The excellent music and sound design from Kelly Ryall is pivotal, contributing significantly throughout the production.

Powerful, confronting, inspiring theatre – and telling the stories that we don’t see enough of, and which need to be told.