Reviewed by: Olivia Farag
Opening night of An Intervention was a huge success at Old 505 Theatre in Newtown. Based on Mike Bartlett’s play written in 2014, the play explores the rocky road of a difficult friendship in the context of mental health, global politics and white privilege.
At the centerpiece of the play are two indefinable characters – ‘A’ and ‘B’ – who take on the imprints of the director’s vision. In this case we have Jess Belle Keogh as a loud mouth, gregarious woman who loves to indulge in alcohol while having a good time, and Bardiya McKinnon as a handsome, reserved, thoughtful young fellow who perhaps doesn’t know as much about the world as he believes he does. Together, the pair test each other’s patience with an ongoing ping-pong battle of fruitless argument about whether invading another country is morally justifiable / whether one of them has a drinking problem / whether ‘Hannah’ (the young man’s girlfriend) is in fact a horrible person. Their constant arguing is the glue that holds them together which at times descends into bitter hysteria, as it transpires neither of them are particularly coping with their life choices.
The last quarter or so brings the play to an apex of moral clarity when we discover the impact of ditching such friends whom we decide are too much hard work, and therefore, disposable. Certainly the memes are out there telling us we’re entitled to feel happier / stronger / less dysfunctional by ‘letting go of negative people’ or ‘you don’t need someone in your life who brings you down’.
And yet, perhaps we do. Through the lens of empathy, this play is an especially important reminder to value the most difficult friendships in our life and to be patient with those who are going through their ups and downs. Without giving spoilers away, the last five minutes will have you gripping the edge of your seat, restraining yourself from jumping on stage to find that damn remote control.
An Intervention is currently playing at Old 505 Theatre in Newtown till 31 August. Visit www.old505theatre.com to book.