RIP IT UP (Adelaide)

Q: What can you do with a hospital screen, a clock, a table, a chair and a preserving pan? A: Build the most compelling piece of theatre you may ever see in your lifetime! In Jack Hibberd's celebrated monodrama, recluse Monk O'Neill (played by Peter Hosking) is the ultimate stand-up comedian. He talks directly to the audience about his past life, he jokes with them, tells them stories (some bawdy, some laden with pathos), almost always going beyond this to comic re-enactment. The humour is black, and there's plenty of it. To witness Hosking in full flight is to be caught up in the momentum of a full scale tornado. The range of this actor is truly incredible; he is vibrant, physical and in-your-face. Every irony, every nuance, every gesture had the audience enthralled. Hosking's subtlety of interpretation, his rapid shifts of character, and lively digressions make this a superlative performance. The man is brilliant. By all means spend some Fringe bucks on froth and bubble, but for truly inspired acting, astute direction, innovative and faultless design, music and lighting see Greg Carroll's production of Stretch. (And see it soon - when the word gets out there won't be a seat left in the house.)


Review by GAIL SHIRLEY, 24th February 1998