Michael Hurst, accompanied by the timid and pent up Ryan Richards, deliver Gary Henderson’s strikingly bold 1998 play An Unseasonable Fall of Snow at the Basement theatre.
The truly intimate setting of the Basement Studio allows for an arms length look at one of New Zealand’s best actors in Hurst, and an acclaimed up and comer in Richards.
Hurst’s portrayal of Arthur is worthy of a classic crime drama. He’s a detective ready to delve into the sordid topics of his interrogation. The action is enhanced with dim and atmospheric lighting as a single light bulb hangs over the partially tiled floor space. Little to nothing needs to be done to increase his intensity.
Richards’ plays lonely youth Liam, who is under interrogation. His demure persona is amplified by the underlying rage and desperation that every so often bubbles over and explodes. The audience is left for the first half to wonder and suspect Liam for his actions, as Arthur gets increasingly closer to revealing the twist in the plot, which is only insinuated in subtle hints and signs.
Throughout the play we are introduced to the big questions; “are you a past man, or a future man?” Are we ever actually in the present? Do we decide and dictate our ‘rights’? Not only are these big philosophical life questions, but also question our interpretation of masculinity. Liam’s loneliness and difficulty with his social anxiety and insecurity comes through the performance. His insecurity and loneliness are eventually upsetting catalysts in the plot twist.
Matt Bakers direction is near perfect, Hurst’s Arthur is cautious and methodical, and Richards’ Liam is both well crafted and an anxious wreck.
An Unseasonable Fall of Snow is a fabulous unravelling of the personal psyche and the after affects of a person’s grand action.
Reviewed by Therese Murdoch