Adelaide Fringe 2017 Theatre Review: Linger

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 10.30.39 pmAn image from Linger

What: Linger

When: 17th March – 19th March, 6:30pm

Where: Tandanya Theatre

Who: Matthew Cropley (Writer and Director), Dana Cropley (Producer).

This debut drama about teen suicide, the afterlife, friendship and depression touches all parts of the human soul; its intimacies both beautiful and ugly, foreign and heart-wrenching. After Cory’s (Daniel Cropley) apparent suicide, Samantha (Christina Devetzidis) grapples with the implications and finality of death. The writing is personal and raw, the acting is steadfast and moveable, the themes are all too real and confronting.

It’s a hard subject to talk about, let alone perform. Suicide and all its implications play out in front of us, in a theatre, with minimal set design and an all black background; we are transported, through an original sobering piano accompaniment (Liam Hudson), to certain moments of tenderness and childlike purity, before being shown the reality of depression. Cory’s ghost haunts us all, and like Samantha, it’s hard to move on from such an emotional production. Even though at some points the acting seemed amateurish, this play held its own as an impressive piece of debut theatre with its own thing to say.

Christina Devetzidis is the star of the play, her presence and stage quality hold it all together. Her character comes to terms with differing stages of grief in interesting ways, her journey is one that opens up the reality of how depression can manifest itself in friends. How does one grapple with a friend’s death, and the darkly comic implications of being followed around by the ghost of said friend? At some points, we begin to wonder, is Cory’s ghost just a coping mechanism? Is Samantha dealing with her grief through dissociating, creating a version of Cory? Several of these themes are alluded to, and the way in which the director Matthew Cropley handled these issues is with a gentle, naturalistic touch.

The parting shot in the play, without spoiling it for you, includes the stars, the constellations, the moon – these moments allude to moving on and finding peace. The ghost of Cory, and all that he represents, lingers long in our collective consciousness long after the final bow, which makes us think about our loved ones, encourages us to reach out, and offer our love and support to those struggling with that familiar black dog.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Dylan Rowen

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