While set in the future, In Real Life is within the realm of possibility, not far removed from where we are now and the direction we’re rapidly heading.
The play centres around a domineering single mother, Theresa, who is the CEO of a global digital company that invented ‘The Drum’, a must have personal digital device. She’s estranged from her troubled self-harming daughter Eva, who has relocated to their country holiday retreat. Mother tries to reconnect with daughter who has rebelled and turned her back on the trappings of the family corporate empire.
Then Eva goes missing and the line between reality and fantasy blurs as Theresa grapples with grief and uses technology to bridge the gap between the digital world and real life.
Australian playwright Julian Larnach has created an entertaining psychological thriller that is driven by narrative and features a talented female duo of AFI award winning Anni Finsterer and Elizabeth Nabben, graduate from the VCA.
This world premier is thought provoking as it touches on the science fiction concepts of human cloning, robots and how ‘The Drum’ device can be programmed to assist with grief support and ease the pain of loss. But good old-fashioned alcohol has a prominent role in filling the void.
The set is minimalist and captures the essence of futuristic luxury; ‘The Drum’ device and simulated nature sounds are surreal.
In Real Life is spot on with its relevance to our rapidly changing world and appeals to a wide-ranging audience. It’s emotional, raw and touching and while the role of obsessed Theresa doesn’t change, the daughter takes on several characters like that of corporate board member, lesbian domestic maid, TED talk lady and robot.
Until Oct 15. Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst. $38-$54. Tickets & Info: www.darlinghursttheatre.com or Ph. (02) 8356 9987
Reviewed by Mel Somerville.