Homing in on good re­turns for com­edy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Theatre - Tanya MacNaughton

IT will be a mini re­union for di­rec­tor Matt Edger­ton and ac­tor Bryce Young­man when the lat­ter trav­els from his home in Syd­ney this week to per­form in one-man show Death in Bowengab­bie at Down­stairs at the Maj.

Not only will this be their third sea­son of the black com­edy writ­ten by Caleb Lewis – it pre­miered at The Blue Room in 2013 – but they have known each other since their WAAPA days, fol­lowed by time to­gether at Bell Shake­speare Com­pany.

“It’s a great way to catch up with a lit­tle east-west coast col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Edger­ton, of Su­bi­aco, said. “And it’s a big lux­ury be­ing able to go back and re­visit a work.”

Edger­ton moved to Perth last year when he be­came artis­tic di­rec­tor of Bark­ing Gecko Theatre Com­pany, which re­cently moved from Su­bi­aco Arts Cen­tre to State Theatre of WA, join­ing Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany as a res­i­dent com­pany.

He said Death in Bowengab­bie was about char­ac­ter Os­car Bowen who left his home­town of Bowengab­bie for good, or so he thought.

“There is a se­ries of fu­ner­als that bring him back to town with strange nov­elty themes: a fun­fair fu­neral, a nau­ti­cal fu­neral, a mu­si­cal fu­neral,” Edger­ton said.

“It’s a black com­edy with a mys­tery at its heart; why are all th­ese peo­ple dy­ing in town and what’s re­ally draw­ing him back?

“It’s a vir­tu­osic one-man show where one ac­tor plays a whole town full of char­ac­ters.

“It’s pri­mar­ily a com­edy but pulls at the heart­strings as well be­cause in many ways it’s a uni­ver­sal ex­pe­ri­ence about what it’s like go­ing back to the place where you grew up, where ev­ery­thing’s the same but also dif­fer­ent.”

Edger­ton said he hoped au­di­ences con­nected with the story per­formed on stage at Down­stairs at the Maj, where the au­di­ence would be in in­ti­mate cabaret-style seat­ing.

Bryce Young­man in Death in Bowengab­bie.

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