Review: The Cry (2018)

The Cry, a psychological thriller TV series originally broadcast in the UK last year, hit our television screens in early-February. It is also available on ABC iView.

It tells the story of Joanna (Jenna Coleman) and Alistair (Ewen Leslie), young parents whose baby son disappears while they travelled from Scotland to Melbourne to reunite with Alistair’s fourteen-year-old daughter. Subsequently, Joanna and Alistair are subject to both police and media scrutiny, putting pressure on their relationship.

Prior to the disappearance, Joanna is overwhelmed by motherhood, suffering from post-natal depression. She is the primary carer of their son. As Alistair fails to give her proper support, she spirals into a deep chasm of grief following the child’s disappearance. Alistair manages to better control his grief.

Throughout the show, we learn that Alistair is manipulative and controlling, driving his and Joanna’s relationship from the very beginning. After the disappearance, he instructs Joanna on what to say and do during press conferences and interviews. He controls their public image.

Coleman gives a perfect performance as Joanna. I can’t fault her at all. She plays the part of a mother extremely well. In essence, her performance is real and genuine, despite her not having any children.

Leslie also gives a convincing performance as Alistair. As with Coleman, his performance came across as genuine and real. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Coleman win an award or two for their performances.

The Cry is captivating, emotional, and full of twists and turns. I found it incredibly addictive. It’s the perfect example of what a psychological thriller should be.

I’d recommend this show to people who enjoy psychological thrillers.


Words by Callum J Jones.

Shivered

Everyone reaches a crossroads in their life, where two possible paths lie before you, each with unknown results. This is the scenario young Josh (Daniel Cropley) finds himself in Shivered, the latest play from Cropley Productions. A dramatic thriller, albeit with numerous comedic moments, this performance explores the pressure we put on young people, specifically high school students, to pick a path and determine their future at an age where many of us have only barely started to comprehend this whole “adult” thing, let alone the weight of the next sixty-odd years.

The classic “follow your dreams vs be boring and sensible” plot isn’t anything new, but the approach here is definitely unique. And we can see the stakes complicated with the opinions and pressures from people around Josh, such as his girlfriend Lindsey (Ashlin Petty) and supportive sister Louise (Dana Cropley).

Intertwined in this is a peculiar man (Matthew Cropley) who appears to be overly invested in our protagonist. This leads to some particularly dark and intense moments, performed beautifully by the actors. At times there is a disconnect at times between the serious and the lighter moments of the play. In a single scene we have a creepy interaction between Josh and his would-be stalker, and then the wildly comical antics of Dave the Barista (Matt Ahearn), recalling his most infamous customer and an unusual request. This scene was indeed one of the funniest in the show, and I’m sure I’ll be chuckling to myself “pupperchinos” for a while. But while all these elements are solid, the transition between light and darkness could be a little smoother.

The Twist – because there’s always a twist in a thriller – is indeed satisfying and well crafted, if a bit loosely explained. But it didn’t really need to be. It just works. And in the scope of a 50 minute Fringe performance you can only explore so many details.

Theatre is always a risk, especially when you’re a small company without the backing of flashy sponsors and large production department. And it’s so great to see more and more bourgeoning artists putting themselves out there and giving it a go. And I really have to commend this young team for taking on such dark and complex themes. It’s not easy to demonstrate an existential crisis on the stage in such a thoughtful and measured way, and I certainly look forward to see what project they take on next.

Shivered is definitely relatable for anyone who has ever felt themselves torn between two (or more) life paths, or for anyone who may look back and question if they picked the right one. There are no easy answers to these big philosophical questions, but it’s still comforting to watch them play out and realise you’re far from alone in the uneasiness.

4/5 stars


Words by Simone Corletto.

Simone earlier interviewed the team behind Shivered.

Shivered is being performed at Tandanya Theatre at Live from Tandanya this weekend on the 16th, 17th and 18th of February. 

Tickets available here.