Fringe Review: Doubt: A Parable

John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer-winning play about a suspicious nun’s crusade against a charismatic priest finds new relevance in an Australian context.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning drama written by John Patrick Shanley and adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 2008, Doubt: A Parable tells the story of Sister Aloysius (Kate Wissell), a Catholic school principal who seeks to rid her classrooms from any impurity. Under her wing, the meek Sister James (Lauren Colella) acts as her confidante as she begins to suspect the popular and charming Father Flynn (Adam D’Aprice) of acts of indecency against a young male student.

starheART theatre’s interpretation of Shanley’s controversial play is a competent delivery of this hard-hitting drama, its small ensemble navigating the tightly-written script admirably. Wissell embodies the terseness of a devout Catholic Sister, delivering her lines with a necessary coldness to make the character entirely unlikeable and yet entirely trustworthy. Colella shines as the misguided and easily manipulated Sister James with her meek delivery and a quieter disposition in comparison to her counterparts on the stage. Father Flynn’s off-kilter charisma is evoked through D’Aprice’s stirring sermon deliveries, which ask audiences to consider their moral judgement in the face of questionable circumstances.

Though this story has been brought to the stage and screen many times before, starheART bring a unique edge to Shanley’s original work; by changing the setting from the Bronx to Australia the play is made that much more visceral, uncomfortable and confronting in light of the ongoing local controversies surrounding the Catholic Church.

With a dynamic and talented cast as well as some important ethical questions, Doubt: A Parable is a timely addition to this year’s Fringe.

Doubt: A Parable was performed at Nexus Arts on Saturday, February 23

Doubt: A Parable
February 21 – 23, March 7
Nexus Arts

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