Printable CopyTHE SILENT HOUSE
Adelaide Town Hall
Until 02 Mar 2019

Review by Fran Edwards

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

A very topical subject - refugees and how confinement affects them – is at the core of this play but despite the symbolism and angst it misses its mark. Director Mehdi Mashhour uses his two cast members well to recreate the internment; the feeling of hopelessness is increased by the restricted space and the repetition, and also by the silence.

Both actors maintain the characterisation and display the increasing rift between them. The man showing signs of what is probably PTSD and the woman, heavily pregnant alternatively withdrawing and trying to connect. The use of scraps of rubbish and metal (including bullets) is, I think, meant to symbolise their options and treatment but became confusing.

There was obvious lack of communication, first almost total silence and then speaking in different languages, her English to his French. The soundscape of occasional guns and explosions in the distance was broken by random pieces of German Opera. I thought I was beginning to understand when he snaps and attacks and appears to kill her, but she then gets up and reverses their positions at the table.

I felt this had a message to convey but that I failed to receive it.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)