Cranking Hog Productions
Bakehouse Theatre
Until 20 Jul 2019

Review by Jamie Wright

“The Double Bass” is a darkly comic monologue written in the early 1980s by Patrick Süskind – a German writer probably best known in Australia for his novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”, which was adapted into a 2006 film starring Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and the late Alan Rickman.

In his soundproofed apartment, a double bassist waxes lyrical about his love/hate relationship with the instrument, its journey through the history of the orchestra to modern day, and the ups and downs of his life as a professional musician.

Eddie Morrison, himself a double bassist, does a great job here – though one distinctly hopes it isn’t a case of life imitating art as the character’s life is not an altogether happy one. He conveys all of the character’s many moods as genuine and (unsurprisingly) in the few scenes where the character uses the instrument, it comes across as wholly natural.

Directed by Lisa Harper Campbell, the 75-minute play zips along at a good pace, and there’s some nice touches; performing in an intimate space like the Bakehouse’s studio allows performer Morrison to at times shout without straining but at others deliver lines barely above a whisper, and one can’t help but feel the parallels to the shifting dynamics in a musical score. There are nice visual touches, such as the different coloured alcoholic drinks the player consumes throughout – and which appear almost from nowhere. Almost the whole of the space is used and the onstage double bass is almost a character unto itself.

An enjoyable and engaging production of a clever, funny play.