Homing in on good returns for comedy
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.