April 21, 2016

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald 21 APRIL 2016

Beautifully performed and powerfully staged, this is the most intriguing work of theatre in Sydney at the moment. You have until Saturday to see it.

Co-written by Lachlan Philpott and its performer Luke Mullins, Lake Disappointment entangles the audience in the inner monologue of a body double fulfilling his piecemeal role in a movie production while anxiously awaiting his famous doppelganger Kane to fly in.

We meet our nameless double standing in the lake, arms akimbo. He’s far from disappointed at this stage. In fact, he’s in his element, relishing his moment in the sun while a camera crew in a helicopter overhead captures long shots.

Unable to move, our modern Narcissus daydreams and talks, dwelling obsessively on his relationship with Kane and on what he thinks is their professional symbiosis. He recalls his professional highs (a doubles convention in Atlanta, for example) and lows (“Briefcase Bomb 2 going straight to DVD”).

He fixates on the enviably muscular hands of a gas station attendant, the size of his own biceps and the availability of local gymnasiums. He ponders gnomic comments from Kane’s co-star Linda Hunt. “I googled her,” the double confesses. “She must be good. She won an Oscar. She beat Cher.”

But as the days tick by and Kane continues to be a no-show, his grip on the reality of his situation starts to loosen. Without the reflecting surface that is Kane, the double is confronted by the idea he has no identity of his own.

Softly-spoken, especially at first, and physically precise, Mullins draws the audience into the shimmering shallows of the double’s world in a production using the close-miking of its performer to create a sense of psychological intimacy in the unnerving black void of Bay 17. Aided by dramatic spotlighting (Matt Cox) and a cinematic sound design (James Brown), director Janice Muller expertly regulates tempo, tension and release.

Once again, you have until Saturday. Drop what you need to in order to see this.