Red Phoenix Theatre
Holden Street Theatres
Until 25 Aug 2018

Review by Luke Wagner

Film has always been a rich source for the theatrical world, and many movies have made their way to Broadway in the form of a flashy musical. This adaptation, however, is not in the same vein as those; this play is drawn from the world of science fiction: “The Man From Earth” was a screenplay developed by Jerome Bixby with its first airing in a 1969 episode of “Star Trek”.

John Oldman is leaving his ten year role as a university professor to start a new life, much to the confusion of his colleagues who are keen to understand why he is feeling the need to uproot his life. John reveals to his friends that he is actually a caveman who doesn’t age, and that he is 14,000 years old. His fellow scholars scoff at his claim and begin to pick holes in his story, which becomes more and more elaborate – and the group begins to question his sanity.

Director Robert Kimber and the cast have taken on this interesting concept and delivered a fascinating performance. There are parts of the story which seem to detract from the intricacies of this play – some scenes in the final moments come across as cheesy and a little farcical. The decision for the cast to speak in their natural accents was an odd choice given there were many references to the story taking place in America, but this didn’t diminish the overall success of the production – yet it did detract somewhat.

Andrew Horwood, Lindsay Dunn, Lynn Wilson, Brendan Cooney and Eliza Bampton give great performances as the group of academics deciphering John’s story and using their expertise in Biology, Anthropology, Psychology and Religion. Horwood in particular gave a strong performance.
Brant Eustice was believable as the older professor recently grieving for his lost wife.
Fahad Farooque as John Oldman was a strong lead, and created a well-developed character.

Robert Kimber’s set was simple yet effective and enhanced by a beautiful lighting design. The sound effects were at times a little loud, drowning out the dialogue.

This production poses an interesting scenario in asking the question: is something untrue simply because it cannot be scientifically proven or denied? A thought-provoking and entertaining play.