Printable CopyLINGER
Until 19 Mar 2017

Review by Linda Edwards

Every Fringe Festival is replete with insubstantial (although often entertaining) offerings, and it is always good to see a play that is not afraid to delve into the serious problems facing many people today. The producers, writer and cast of “Linger” are therefore to be congratulated on tackling the devastating and difficult topics of youth depression and suicide, and the trauma, guilt and pain associated with them; ramifications that can even be passed down to subsequent generations.

The play is centred around schoolboy Cory (Daniel Cropley) and his long-time friend Samantha (Christina Devetzidis). When the audience first meets Cory he is suffering from serious depression following his mother’s death and feels alienated, abandoned by his friends, and with nowhere to turn. As the drama progresses, Samantha and those around her must cope with Cory’s death and its aftermath.

Cropley does a fine job as the troubled young man and Devetzidis handles the emotional roller-coaster ride of her role with great sensitivity and intelligence. Matt Ahearn is another standout, delivering a powerful performance in the tortured role of Cory’s dad. Dana Cropley is less successful as Samantha’s mum, largely because of poor projection, which made her almost impossible to hear even from the third row on opening night. Cayden Lucas as the psychologist was also projecting so poorly as to be almost inaudible. Liam Hudson and Michelle Wakim do well in their roles of the police officer and Chloe respectively, and while Andrew Clark’s performance as the priest is fine, the way the part is written (presumably as light relief) is so ludicrous it loses the humour it might have offered.

The main downfall of the play is that is written in cinematic rather than theatrical style. This is not surprising as writer/director Matthew Cropley is a screenwriter and film student, but it is not particularly successful on stage as it has led to a structure of numerous scenes separated by equally numerous blackouts. The blackouts are seamless and silent, presumably from the ample opportunities to practice them, but it is tiresome to watch furniture being brought on and off over and over again in seemingly endless blackouts. The numerous scenes might have worked better if different areas of the stage had been designated as different locations, with the furniture remaining in place, and perhaps lighting used to delineate the locations.

The dialogue is often sensitive and touches on some important themes, but for this reviewer the structure of the play dissipates the power it might otherwise have had. It is still well worth seeing however, and does well in tackling the serious and growing problems of youth depression and suicide.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)