FRINGE REVIEW – The Day The Sky Turned Black (C Soco)


7 – 30 August (not 16)
1730-1825, C Soco

On February 7 2009, the skies above Victoria in Australia turned black. The result of bushfires which claimed 173 lives and made over 8,000 homeless, it has since been referred to as Black Saturday.

In this poignant and moving one-hander at C Soco, Australian actress Ali Kennedy-Scott recounts the personal stories of five survivors of the tragedy, as they come to terms with their physical and emotional losses and learn how to move on.

Kennedy-Scott is a fine actress, never missing a beat or stumbling over a line during her intense 55-minute performance. Her mannerisms and characterisations are also excellent. She changes the style of her hair and adopts physical traits of the characters before stepping into their shoes: be this the over-exuberance of a six year-old boy who doesn’t quite understand the enormity of the situation; or – with a stoop and change of facial expression – a pensioner whose entire life has been lost to the flames.

Pacing is also well-handled, with recorded news reports punctuating the piece and allowing Kennedy-Scott brief moments to change character. Props, set and lighting are simple; shoes are used to represent each person portrayed, and 5 simple chairs are employed to mark their presence.

It is Scott-Kennedy which holds the piece together and her adeptness at solo theatre is obvious from her gripping and heartfelt performance.

Based as it is on real interviews with the characters portrayed, The Day The Sky Turned Black is an emotionally-charged, touching and uplifting piece. It reminds us how fragile our own existences can be; yet also of how the human spirit can burn much stronger than any flame.

Ticket information is available on the Fringe website.

Review by Keith D

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