Painkillers

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PAINKILLERS

***

UNDERBELLY (VENUE 61)

THIS well-executed piece of theatre follows the intense relationship which evolves as a journalist attempts to discover what leads a disturbed woman to kill. Laura Ford and Amanda Beetham-Wallace deliver as the reporter and prisoner, while writer Paul Buie deserves credit for writing such well-rounded believable characters.

Seldom kowtowing to easy clich, Buie presents a harsh society in which the lines of good and evil, reality and fiction and redemption and remorse, are blurred, creating a canvas in which no one picture is complete. Moments of tenderness pass too quickly, so too any real sign of compassion and companionship, as the stakes are raised and the truth slowly emerges into view.

The only fault of the show is the clunky use of flashbacks. While video projections afford a suitably apt metaphor for a young woman unable to articulate her own truth, a whispered voiceover detracts from the more subtle emotions that lie dormant in the piece. That criticism aside, the heartbreaking finale makes it worth the ticket price.

Until 26 August. Today 3.20pm