Ridley Centre
Until 09 Mar 2019

Review by Janice Bailey

It is not often that a theatrical experience can be so rewarding that it stays with you days after the actual experience and the emotions experienced at the time are as raw and real as at the time of the original experience. “Counting and Cracking”, currently at the Ridley Centre, has achieved that for this reviewer. A collaboration between Belvoir Street Theatre, whose credentials stand for themselves, and Co-Curious Theatre, a Company which tells stories from Another Australia, ‘supports writers to bring their stories to life with their own sense of authenticity and community collaboration, while at the same time attracting prominent theatre and film industry partners’.

History can be glorified, condemned, celebrated and lamented – but it cannot be ignored. The history of Ceylon/Sri Lanka is harrowing, disturbing and uplifting. The writer, S Shakthidharan, is a western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. He is also the Artistic Director of Co-Curious. Director, Eamon Flack, was born in Singapore and grew up in Singapore, Darwin and Brisbane. His credentials are lengthy.

This performance is not for the faint-hearted, being three and a half hours in length with two 20 minute intervals. However, the time is irrelevant as the story is riveting and mesmerising. The removal of the fourth wall makes the action more accessible and heart wrenchingly emotional. The performances of each of the actors are outstanding as they tell their story. It has been some time since I have seen an audience rise to their feet as ‘one’ and give to everyone involved in this production the resounding applause that was so well deserved.