Bruscon (played by Helpmann Award-winning Bille Brown) is a self-proclaimed national treasurer who has just arrived at the Black Hart Inn in Utzbach, a small Austrian town. Together with the help of his sick wife, two brow beaten adult children and the owners of the inn he must stage and star in his allegorical “masterpiece”, The Wheel of History. This is somewhat of a dilemma, however, as all who surround him are pathetic, talentless philistines. Well, according to Bruscon anyway who rants and raves, abuses and demands to the point we’re left wondering if Daniel Schlusser has directed a 90-minute long monologue. Luckily though Brown portrays Bruscon with the most remarkable Mick Jagger-esque energy while the rest of the cast is kept on the periphery, including delightfully quirky Barry Otto as the compliant landlord.
Adapted from the play by revered German writer Thomas Bernhard, this is theatre within theatre teeming with in-jokes and some very funny, self-deprecating moments. But even with the strong performances and witty one liners the show dragged in parts, and while we are given a good insight into the tyrannical mess that is Bruscon the rest of the characters are almost unfairly cast aside. Although I guess that’s how Bruscon intended it.
Until Jul 28, Wharf Theatre, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, $40-79, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.org.au