The Courier-Mail

AC­TOR GRINDS OUT TOP SOLO PER­FOR­MANCE

- Queens­landthe­atre.com.au

LIBBY Munro must have been sweat­ing bul­lets go­ing into the

open­ing night of Grounded.

The one-woman show is a tour de force for any per­former, but Munro had a par­tic­u­lar weight sit­ting on her shoul­ders.

In Venus in Fur, her de­but for Queens­land Theatre Com­pany in 2013, she blew the au­di­ence away and her pow­er­ful per­for­mance is still fresh in many peo­ple’s minds.

In Grounded she not only needed to achieve that level, but ex­ceed it.

Au­di­ences, and Munro her­self, will be pleased to know she did.

Grounded fol­lows a fe­male fighter pi­lot who, af­ter a tor­rid love af­fair, falls preg­nant and can no longer fly.

The preg­nancy grounds her, un­able to fly be­cause if she needed to eject, the force would kill her un­born child.

By the time she is ready to re­turn to work, war­fare has changed and she is no longer re­quired to go up into her beloved blue sky, but she sits in an air­con­di­tioned car­a­van bomb­ing in­sur­gents from the Ne­vada desert through re­motely op­er­ated drones.

But war­fare isn’t the only thing that has changed, the pi­lot her­self has changed pro­foundly since be­com­ing a mother.

Munro is sim­ply ex­tra­or­di­nary in the role.

She spends the en­tire 75 min­utes alone in the space with barely a prop to help her.

She de­mands the au­di­ence’s at­ten­tion from the mo­ment they en­ter the theatre, her barely dressed fig­ure prone on the floor, and she doesn’t let go un­til she ex­its.

The char­ac­ter arc her un­named pi­lot goes through is fas­ci­nat­ing – from ar­ro­gant and bullish to bro­ken and torn at the end and the sub­tlety with which Munro at­tacks each mo­ment is a beau­ti­ful thing to watch.

In the hands of An­drea Moor, who also di­rected Munro in Venus in Fur, the piece has a sur­pris­ingly nur­tur­ing feel­ing that one doesn’t ex­pect from a piece ex­plor­ing sub­jects of war and post-trau­matic stress.

Moor has once again proved to be a mas­ter­ful di­rec­tor of strong and in­ter­est­ing fe­male char­ac­ters.

De­sign, in the hands of Ge­orgina Green­hill on set, Tony Brump­ton on sound and Ben Hughes on light­ing, is par­tic­u­larly strong in this piece.

The set fills the tiny Diane Ci­lento Stu­dio space and the light­ing tran­si­tions the au­di­ence ex­pertly through the piece with­out them notic­ing.

Brump­ton’s sound de­sign is par­tic­u­larly pow­er­ful.

In all, Grounded is an ex­tremely top­i­cal piece of theatre that is given a bril­liant treat­ment in the hands of this par­tic­u­lar team of ex­perts.

Munro once again proves to be one of Queens­land’s strong­est per­form­ers, and Moor has another notch to her belt.

 ??  ?? FULL THROT­TLE: Libby Munro nails it in Queens­land Theatre Com­pany’s Grounded.
FULL THROT­TLE: Libby Munro nails it in Queens­land Theatre Com­pany’s Grounded.

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