Black on black. Black floors. Black walls. A black shadow behind the army bed.
Mum, Me and the I.E.D., is a new work of significance, the play of our time, with a story that needs to be told, a story of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (once known as shell shock) and the effects beyond war. Of family, relationships, expectations, beliefs, the strings that bind us. And their unravelling.
In the lead, actor Phillipe Klaus delivers a portrait that is so profound, so striking, so engaging, so traumatic, so real, that you can be lost, forget where you are, forget you are in the audience. Sometimes his emotions explode beyond the stage, yet at other times we quietly look inward into his pain and suffering.
As his foils, and each in their own right, actors Matilda Brodie, Martin Harper, Elaine Hudson and Joshua Shediak provide dramatic perfection. They've even got the army march down pat.
Despite the intensity of the core subject, throughout Mum Me and the I.E.D., writers James Balien and Roger Vickery empower the story with light in the darkness, through moments of affection, and of humour. They're marvellous storytellers, gifted at using dialogue which truly has voice, and in weaving it into a life like tapestry. Like any great story, Mum. Me and the I.E.D. has many layers some simple and more obvious, some more complex and subtle.
And if all this talent isn't enough in itself, Kevin Jackson further enables the humanness, the searching and questioning, through creative contemporary direction. They're on chairs. They're standing. Then they're on the floor. We laugh, and we cry as our hearts are torn apart.
Mum, Me and the I.E.D. is a sharp intelligent play of outstanding merit, that deserves to be seen by wider audiences, to have longer runs and to win awards. Its world premiere season continues at The Depot Theatre Marrickville only until September 1.