The Australian - - ARTS - EAMONNKELLY


Astro­man Trac­ing a year in the life of 13year-old Aboriginal boy Jiem­bra Djalu, Astro­man is a whim­si­cal, satir­i­cal and op­ti­mistic new work con­cerned with the ca­pac­ity of the hu­man spirit to over­come ad­ver­sity, prej­u­dice and habit. Crafted by Maori play­wright Al­bert Belz, the play be­gan life as a tale set in coastal New Zealand. Af­ter a stint in Aus­tralia, Belz re­lo­cated his drama to a 1980s work­ing­class en­clave in Gee­long, his char­ac­ters in­hab­it­ing an ar­che­typal Strug­gle Street, liv­ing on racial and so­cioe­co­nomic mar­gins, and look­ing for op­por­tu­nity in the cracks. For this Mel­bourne The­atre Com­pany pro­duc­tion, di­rec­tor Sarah Goodes em­ploys Nik­las Pa­janti’s puls­ing light­ing de­sign and Jethro Wood­ward’s up­beat sound­track of elec­tronic gam­ing noises and pe­riod songs in en­er­getic scene splices and tongue-in-cheek chore­o­graphic mon­tages.

Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne. Fair­fax Stu­dio, 100 St Kilda Road, Mel­bourne. Tonight, 8pm. Tick­ets: $65-$84. In­quiries: 1300 182 183 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 8. Du­ra­tion: 2hr 20min, in­clud­ing 20min in­ter­val.

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