Theatre review: Cairns Little Theatre presents Rona Munro's Iron at The Rondo
Behind bars: Trisha Hill as Josie and Cath Willacy as Fay in Rona Munro's Iron.
Moira McGann gives her word on Cairns Little Theatre's first production for 2012.
It’s billed as a psychological drama, but don’t be fooled, Cairns Little Theatre’s Iron has a little bit of humour as well – and it’s delivered to great effect.
Set in a prison, Iron is essentially the story of a daughter reuniting with her estranged mother, who is 15 years into a life sentence.
It also touches on different relationships; between guards, and guards and prisoners.
Cath Willacy is a standout as mother Fay; battling, manipulating if necessary, to survive a lifetime inside, as well as trying to forget what got her in there in the first place.
The unexpected visit of her daughter Josie, played by Little Theatre new girl Trisha Hill, who had a worthy debut, forces both characters to eventually confront the reality of what actually happened and how they can each best live with it.
The tension in the play builds nicely, although I would have expected more awkwardness in the initial meeting between mother and daughter.
However, my view was obstructed by the unfortunate position of a guard standing in front of me for much of the scene, so perhaps I just missed it.
The guards did move around, but I got the impression that when they were standing they were always blocking somebody’s view.
I’m not sure why they couldn’t have stood at the back of the stage.
That said, the set, although necessarily basic to reflect the prison location, works well, and each scene flows seamlessly into another.
The focus also moves easily from one perspective to another, such as female guard Sheila, played by Meg Fielding, who has an issue maintaining boundaries with prisoners, to male guard George, played by Brian Schwarze, who seems to think his job has given him an extraordinary insight into women’s minds.
Penned by renowned Scottish writer Rona Munro, Iron is an internationally performed and acclaimed play that is engrossing from beginning to end, and Cairns Little Theatre more than did it justice.
This is excellent community theatre and I look forward to seeing more in this coming season.
>> Review by Moira McGann. Iron is at Rondo Theatre, Greenslopes St, Edge Hill on February 28-29 and March 1-3. Tickets $18-$22, from ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.