Writer: Stacey Gregg
Director: Emma Jordan
Reviewer: John Kennedy
Gathering more stars than a greedy telescope, Scorch bristles and blisters from the flaming lips of protagonist, Kes, and she has a story to tell from Hell. In streams and screams of lyrical consciousness liberally scattered with social media patois her purgative confessional account of her journey through self-identity is a bitter-sweet triumph of language and solo performance from Amy McAllister. Her monologue seamlessly shifting between reported speech, past and present tenses that sustains a vibrant immediacy while providing expositional clues that begin to reveal as much as her life begins to unravel like spring-released barbed-wire.
The Roundabout setting perfectly complements the swirling, Helter-Skelter machine gun paced narrative. Kes struggles to square the impossible circle of her gender ambiguity. She aspires for absolute ‘Dudeness’ through displacement avatar role play. She wants to be Sigourney Weaver zapping the Alien. But by her early teens her own Alien protrusions become her private horror scenario.
Writer, Stacey Gregg`s stagecraft facilitates Kes’s ability to address the audience as though they are members of her ‘therapy’ Circle. Why she is there begins to unfold with grotesque inevitability. Presenting herself a boy Kes her grasp at innocent intimacy with girlfriend Jules becomes a conspiracy beyond her comprehension. ‘My heart hangs outside my body like a punch-bag.’
There’s laughter, albeit with grimaced relief. Kes is utterly believable, even more so as she is reduced to labels, stereotypes, pigeon-holes and draconian legalese. Drawing on real events, Scorch is aptly titled. The innocent teenage grasp at love and sense of self-purpose sees her fingers burnt with catastrophic consequences. Impassioned, consummate theatre with a heart of burning cause.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed