This new Australian work by Hilary Bell and the Sydney Theatre Company explores the concept of missing – what happens to those who are left behind when a loved one suddenly disappears and what effect that devastating void has when they miraculously return. The Splinter is a rather disturbing, delightful and ethereal tale of how five-year-old Laura’s parents (Erik Thomson and Helen Thomson) cope when she is found nine months after being kidnapped from her bedroom.
Sarah Goodes’ choices in her direction are interesting and unsettling. She develops Bell’s concept of the spiritual world colliding with reality and uses unique devices such as puppets (which portray Laura) to tell the story. The ideas behind The Splinter are unique and engaging and lay the foundation for the cast and production team to explore ideas of changelings and haunted children. Renee Mulder’s design, Emily Maguire’s music and Steve Francis’ sound are stunning and add a third dimension to the production.
The Splinter can be read many ways – similar to a kaleidoscope – turned one direction it shows a distinct perspective, turned the other it reveals something entirely different which is what makes it so fascinating.
Until Sep 15, Wharf Theatre, Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, $35-79, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.org.au