Theatre Review: The Beast by Eddie Perfect – Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House (performances until 21st August)

The Beast that is Eddie Perfect’s debut play had its premiere at the Sydney Opera House on Friday the 29th of July. The playwright joins the endowed cast of seven on stage, bringing to life a tale of three city-slicking partners and their journey through to the Yarra Valley after three mates and their skipper encounter a horrific spell of experiences on a fishing trip.

Set Designer Dale Ferguson explores a range of environments with the Drama Theatre’s room for exquisite drapery, allowing for settings of eerie high-seas and quintessential country landscapes on a dim horizon. Housed in with creamy leather lounges and tall white furniture, this play encapsulates a fresh and clean start for the troubled couples.

The script isn’t insipid by any means, taking as many twists and turns as it possibly can, giving the audience the ultimate edge it needs – even amidst the waves, the conversation of increasing Sydney house prices is inescapable. The production first hit the Melbourne scene in 2013 when it premiered for the MTC with another huge cast, though, the play is still as relevant as it ever has been.

(L-R) Heidi Arena 2 - Credit Ken NakanishiAlan John (Composer) and Trent Suidgeest (Lighting) create audio-visual scapes that encompass what veteran Director Simon Phillips is hoping to squeeze out of us emotionally, tapping in to our darkest desires and how and why we act in certain ways given peculiar circumstances, accentuating at the most climatic of spaces.

Perfect’s writing paints an excellent picture of the archetypal individuals we all have to deal with, and some of which we portray. It’s so well-written that each character has their own moment to have the audience in hysterics and doesn’t allow for any performances to outdo each other, making each one as significant as the next.

If you were lucky enough to see Sydney Theatre Company’s production The Present last year at Roslyn Packer Theatre, the performance follows a similar setting as the three couples dine around a picturesque sunset for a nose-to-tail dinner party, eating a calf they all invested in. Things then start to get ugly, and the truth begins to crumble each one of them.

(L-R) Heidi Arena, Alison Bell, Rohan Nichol, Christie Whelan Browne, Toby Truslove and Eddie Perfect - Credit Ken Nakanishi

Heidi Arena who plays Sue and Toby Truslove as Rob exert outstanding contrast after Rob suffers the most from their traumatic boating experience. Rohan Nichol is coupled with Christie Whelan Browne, an attractive couple as she sets out a delicate wife and private-school educated hubby commandeers their relationship. Playwright constructs himself as Baird and his wife Alison Bell as Marge depict the middle-class of Australia, living comfortably as his wife enjoys a drop of wine whenever available.

Undoubtedly this play is very crude and extremely explicit at times, but you only realise how ridiculously dark it is when you can calm down from your laughter. This comedy is for everyone, from young to old, seasoned theatre-goers or newcomers – everyone is bound to get a kick, a laugh, a smile, a tear – irrespective of the emotional status that brings it about. And, uh, warning – there will be blood (and a lot of it, too!).


The Beast by Eddie Perfect has its run at the Drama Theatre inside SOH until 21st of August 2016, and tickets can be purchased here. The reviewer for this performance attended opening night on the 29th of July, 2016.


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