Truth and Deception: Perpetual Wake

5 stars

Image courtesy of Annie Harvey

Image courtesy of Annie Harvey

Two seemingly dissimilar worlds come together in Perpetual Wake to form a simultaneously hilarious and pointed deconstruction of truth, power, and shame.

Building on the premise of a debut author’s clash with a high-profile reviewer, the narrative twists and turns – one moment an excerpt of the titular book, another the real world – to explore a surprising array of themes.

The Last Great Hunt is well-known for their exceptional productions and Perpetual Wake demonstrates why. Created by Gita Bezard and Jeffrey Jay Fowler, with Fowler playing multiple characters along with Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, and Charlotte Otton, this is an expertly written and performed production that’s fresh and lively while highly polished.

Image courtesy of Dana Weeks

Image courtesy of Dana Weeks

We’re chuckling from the outset, kept guessing with an oft-comedic romp that’s stylistically unlimited. The story unfolds in bizarre, ludicrous, and satirical detail while the connection between the two worlds becomes steadily clearer.

As the cast creates and shifts between surreal and realist settings, we experience the tension inherent in our urge to achieve a sense of validity in both private and public spheres. No one is quite who they seem to be, yet the main characters share in their experiences; struggling with vulnerabilities and expectations.

This complex, multilayered narrative is balanced with a minimalist set and economic use of theatrical devices. The story rollicks along with sharp dialogue and an impressive counterpoint between drawn out, awkward pauses and quick-witted, acerbic exchanges.

Playing on interpersonal conflict and the real life realities of truth and deception, Perpetual Wake highlights the contestation of value we assign to old and new media, different literary forms, and gendered behaviour while exploring internalised shame to stunning effect.

Tickets available from Perth Theatre Trust. Perpetual Wake is running until 7 September at Subiaco Arts Centre.