Ross was not always the boss

Ostrich Boys

The Young Rep Company

The Old Rep

***  

MAKING an adaption of a successful book to a stage play cannot be an easy task and here Carl Miller takes Keith Gray's book and makes a brave attempt at it.

The plot's simple. Three lads, Sim, Kenny and Blake, nick the ashes of a deceased mate named Ross and set off to scatter them in Ross in Scotland.

Apparently Ross, when he was alive, had always wanted to go there and be `Ross in Ross'. It's a thin ambition for such a drastic measure but that wish has become the catalyst to the trios' pilgrimage. 

The problems with the transition from book to play seemed most prominent with the various location specifics that the trio arrive at and, to tackle this, video and back projection was used.  The tiny stage of the Old Rep was actually packed with set which left the only a small area for the main action.

There's a lot in here to produce some physical theatre elements, glitchy back projection video and a complex array of additional characters representing various inner thoughts. Not all of it worked but there were some moments of real comedy that outshone the technical additions.

The real breakthrough in the production came at 50 minutes though in with a fiery argument scene where Sim (Dore Robinson) literally tore the walls down with a heartfelt emotional display with nothing but some lighting, a platform and a solid performance.  Unfortunately five minutes later the play ended. and I could not help wishing there had been more like that.   

Hannah Phillips admitted the development of the play had presented some challenges but the cast overall showed some real potential and, when given space to develop the scenes, dealt with them well. Some fine individual performances just managed to pull the Ostrich Boys' head clean out of the sand.

Jeff Grant 

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