Director: Phillip Breen, 29th October- 16th November, The Citizens
Housesitting for his mother, screenwriter Austin is surprised by the arrival of his estranged, degenerate older brother, Lee. Trying to complete his own breakthrough script, Austin is dragged off course when he agrees to write an alternative script on his brother’s behalf, telling his supposed ‘true Western’ story. Without knowing, Austin has created his own downfall as his film is dropped in preference of the Western, leading him to question the constraints of his life; family, job, social pressure, and throw them aside to follow his brother’s footsteps to a life living free in the desert.
True West was a wonderful experience to watch unfold. Using an unexpected episodic format, the curtains close between scenes, leaving the audience in darkness and creating an air of mystery that gives them time process the action and guess what could happen next. When the curtains do open, the re is a single Cinemascope style setting living room/kitchen, which allows the set to completely fill the field of vision. As the play develops the audience witness the destruction of the brother’s worlds being paralleled in the destruction of the set. By the end of the play, when their night of drink fuelled creativity has ended, the brothers have almost completely destroyed the set; empty cans, cupboard doors, half of the fridge and an array of stolen toasters create ever changing obstacles for the actors to overcome.
The main actors themselves, Eugene O’Hare and Alex Ferns, give outstanding performances. They exhaust themselves and yet manage to portray the dark comedy of sibling rivalry with a naturalism that the audience can connect with throughout the play. Although an interesting and thought provoking piece, the highlight for many was the moment where, in the height of drunkenness, the brothers make mountains of toast in their newly stolen toasters, creating a hilarious tension lifting scene. True West is a great play that fulfils your soul, but leaves you starving for a slice of toast.