Tim Winton’s Shrine is beautifully flawed; somehow, structurally, its scope seems beyond the confines of theatre and it might seem a better fit for film, or be best savored from the page. But then, once the play finishes, it’s obvious from the sense of communal catharsis why the work does exist for theatre. There are moments of impact that are best felt live, and are so powerful the wave of their energy surges through the entire room, right up to the circle.

The language is wonderful; the conversations have a natural ease while still maintaining elegance and intelligence, and the frequently descriptive dialogue is filled with poetic imagery that forces us to use our imaginations in the same way we would when reading a novel. We have to work a little bit at following the stream of consciousness narrative style, but it’s worth it. We have to adjust quickly to the jumps in time and reality, and it’s best to abandon the need for structure in favor of an emotional and sensory understanding of events.

Read the full review here.


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