'Naked And Screaming' puts parenthood under the microscope, revealing squirming, uncomfortable truths and exploring the unfathomable layers of a relationship changed forever.
Emily Burton and Jackson McGovern play the only two visible roles in the show – a pair of brand-new parents experiencing the wave of emotions brought on by a baby. Each delivers a performance which is arresting and captivating – and yet completely realistic.
As an audience you aren't pushed to either side by the end – throughout 'Naked And Screaming' you'll find yourself either wanting to hug Emily (Burton) or Simon (McGovern), as they navigate the winding road ahead of them.
Shifting light is used effectively to convey a jump in time, and the actors snap from scene to scene effortlessly. From a heated argument into a silent stare-off, from a laughing fit to a crying fit, in a split second. It's a test of Emily and Jackson's skills as actors – how quickly and convincingly can they shift their weight from one emotion to the next? The answer is, quickly enough. It's as though the play is being digitally jump-cut before our eyes.
Image © Dylan Evans
The story is filled with heart and soul. Parents will understand and people yet to experience parenthood will adequately sympathise. The power of 'Naked And Screaming' is its ability to resonate on varying levels even though the piece is so laser-focused on one particular experience. This speaks to its writing – something Playwright Mark Rogers should be extremely proud of.
You'll walk away from the show discussing and dissecting its content regardless of your life experiences – don't be fooled into believing this is a show made just for parents. Its structure, set over the first year of a human's life, is presented to us as a tangible timeline; Emily and Simon pull and push at each other's thresholds as they're tested like never before throughout the year, and just when it feels as though there's no end in sight to the back and forth, the heart-wrenching resolution and conclusion of the play brings everything back down to earth.
Those planning on seeing this work as their first encounter of theatre since the COVID-19 pandemic needn't feel any apprehension. 'Naked And Screaming' sets the standard for what is sure to be an excellent year of performing arts and live entertainment at La Boite.
'Naked And Screaming' is on at La Boite Theatre (Brisbane) until 27 February.