Sydney, Sydney Fringe Festival 2014

Gruesome Playground Injuries, SFF 2014

0 Comments 28 September 2014

The Kings Collective’s Gruesome Playground Injuries showcases the ability of young Australian artists to take extraordinary contemporary writing to the stage. Gruesome Playground Injuries is minimalistic production that trusts talented performers to be the essence of the piece.

Rajiv Joseph tells the bittersweet tale of childhood best friends Doug and Kayleen who share their deepest physical and emotional scars over 30 years. The non-chronological two-hander vignettes highlight the most significant highs and lows of youth, friendship and the loss felt at the absence of a dear companion; a moving script with moments of hilarity and sorrow, realized in a short, poignant production.

Aaron Glenane (Doug) and Megan McGlinchey (Kayleen) illuminate the complexities of their roles as children, teenagers and adults. Their synchronicity is convincing as they jump from intense anger to cosy intimacy from scene to scene. With a minefield of subtext expected in interchanges between childhood best friends, Glenane and McGlinchey have mastered every detail, compelling the audience to feel the weight and power of nostalgia felt at the missed opportunities, regrets and unrealised potential we face throughout our lives.

Director Anthony Gooley is to be commended for harvesting the production within the sparse, tight-knit TAP Gallery Downstairs Theatre. He has produced an accurate interpretation of Joseph’s script and Glenane and McGlinchey perfectly complement each other to capture the nuances of their characters at his direction. Gooley has demonstrated a fine sense of innovation and resourcefulness through the clever execution of transitions. This execution was complemented by choice music in partnership with sound designers David Stalley, David Couri and Philip Orr. Lighting designer Toby Knyvett masterfully induces atmospheric moods to boost the deep-rooted undercurrents of passion without overpowering the element of performance. The impeccable detail of each costume over the 30-year time span enriched the authenticity of the whole performance, at the credit of Tyler Hawkins.

The Kings Collective has demonstrated remarkable talent and ingenuity through their exploration of youth. Gruesome Playground Injuries is a timely piece that encapsulates human vulnerability as we journey through life with our scars.

Reviewed by Anne Lau


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This post was written by who has written 3 posts on Buzzcuts.

Anne has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), majoring in Government and International Relations and History. She is a participant of Playwriting Australia’s Lotus Salon, currently studies writing for performance at NIDA and maintains a theatre blog at She has also been involved in curating exhibitions for VIVID and Head On Photography Festival and has assisted with coordinating poetry slam events. Anne loves theatre that confronts audiences with the sociological realities we live in. This comes from a belief that individuals are threads in a larger, complex and dynamic social fabric and a passion to reflexively make sense of what it means to be human here and now.

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