Despite the slight technical glitch at the very beginning, the moderately cringe-inducing attempt at southern accents about halfway through, and a few somewhat generic one-liners (‘It’s punk – it’s not supposed to sound like music’), Smashed is an incredibly imaginative, engaging and delightful performance.
This delight surely has much to do with several aspects of the piece; the first being that it is a two-woman show, which reiterates both Lally Katz’ (writer) and Clare Watson’s (director) craft and ability in managing the design of the play, not to mention draws attention to the skilfully playful acting of both women (Suzannah McDonald and Katherine Tonkin). The next is the script, which seems alive in the way it shifts almost seamlessly from the past to the present to the future and back. The intimate space and contemporary shape of the Griffin Theatre adds to the ‘toy box’ sense of it as a whole.
As does the set: the fairy lights and the cosy miniature houses that are lit up from the inside create an atmosphere of warmth and affection. With this same affection the characters are portrayed; though it is at times on the light-hearted side, the humour is rich and very neatly juxtaposed with the more serious undercurrents of memory, mortality, loss, friendship, time and tragedy.
The changing nature of our universe and ourselves is best summed up in Hazel’s words toward the end of the piece: ‘Nobody’s ever the same thing that they are the day before’.
Entertaining, lively and robust.
The Griffin Theatre, Sydney, Australia