Directed by Paulo Castro, The Country is a devastatingly powerful piece that confronts middle class ideals such as love, marriage and the country escape.
Jo Stone and Nathan O’Keefe are Corrine and Richard, a young couple who have moved to the country with their children for that perfect sea-change (or hills-change) life of supposed rural bliss. He’s a doctor. Their beautiful property even features a creek that runs through the yard. This is House & Garden stuff. But something is not right. Staged at State Opera Studio in Netley, David Lampard’s brilliantly fractured set is the ideal place to witness domestic misery. We peer at Richard and Corrine’s broken relationship through huge holes in their home’s wall that look like they’ve been smashed by a sledgehammer in the hands of someone who needed to let out some steam. This couple has a history of problems. It is revealed that a young girl (Rebecca – Natalia Sledz) is passed out upstairs. Richard discovered Rebecca on the side of the road while driving. A fishy story. More details come to light about Rebecca and her relationship with this country doctor, who isn’t your typical prime-time TV country GP. The second and third acts are pulsating theatre, as the narrative unravels and the illusion of Richard’s picture-perfect life is shattered through his arguments with Corrine and Rebecca. Nothing is at is seems, and all the characters (even one who is off screen) aren’t as they appear. Despite some occasional delivery issues, the cast is impressive, especially O’Keefe who delivers a powerful performance as Richard, while newcomer Sledz shines as Rebecca. The Country continues at State Opera Studio until Sunday, March 13 adelaidefestival.com.au