[THEATRE REVIEW] MORTALITY Review @ The Butterfly Club, Melbourne

Last night Melbourne had its first introduction to a new playwright that is going to be a force to be reckoned with, and I consider myself honoured to have been there on the night to witness what I am calling an awakening of something great.

Writer/director Alexander Dymalovski is just 18 years old and last night saw the premiere of his first theatre production at The Butterfly Club and I have to say as a playwright myself and as a seasoned theatre goer I was completely blown away.

Titled Mortality Dymalovski debut work sees A (Boaz Hulme – Shrek) and B (Lara Anderson – The Winter’s Tale) find themselves waking up in a room after being kidnapped. As if that scenario of waking up trapped with a stranger is frightening enough they soon discover they are stuck there with just themselves and a gun for company.

A it turns out is an emotionally damaged young man. He says he is happy but it is soon revealed that he recently lost his job and is mourning the loss of his wife and daughter. Then there is B whose life has been exceptionally well. She is definitely happy with her life and is excited by the fact that she is just about to become married to the love of her life. It is also very apparent that she is not going to cope with this situation the same way the deep-thinker A will.

Soon the pair are not only wondering who put them there and how long they will be there for but they also start to ponder some of the more interesting questions about life as well.

One of the first things that hit me with Dymalovski’s writing is how good he is at showing characterisation and suspense on stage. It didn’t take me many minutes of watching Mortality before I felt like I had been watching these characters for an hour. I immediately felt like I knew them and that came down to Dymalovski’s handle on the characterisation of the characters themselves.

The suspense that he was also able to portray through the script is phenomenal. It felt like he took the power of a film like Saw and made it much more personable. I quickly found my mind trying to race through all the scenarios of how these two characters found themselves in this situation. I found myself wondering whether one of them was responsible for the events and when that feeling started to die down I found myself just hoping that they both made it out alive. That suspense never leaves the room, not for one minute of the 45 minute run time and that shows what a damn fine writer Dymalovski already is.

His work has also been brilliantly brought to life by Lara Anderson and Boaz Hulme. Anderson portrayal of B is exceptional. She takes the character through a wide range of emotions from upset to angry from vulnerable through to breaking point. Anderson reveals herself as an actress with a big future ahead of her and I can’t wait to see her next production.

Likewise Hulme announces himself as a star with his performance as A. Not only did he put in a heartfelt performance throughout as his character was put through the emotional wringer but he came into opening night only being part of the cast for two weeks. Learning a difficult script that is a two-hander from go to woe is no easy feat but Hulme seemed to do it with ease… bigger things are definitely calling from him.

Mortaility is a surprise hit. It draws its audience right into the plot at hand and the production being a two-hander seems to enable the suspense level to rise to an absolutely electric level. With such an amazing script and production under his belt at just 18 it is not hard to see that the name Alexander Dymalovski is going to be big in the theatre world not just here in Australia but overseas as well.