Out of the shadows



Written by James Gaddas

Performed by Robert Morgan

Directed by Bruce Myles

Napier St Theatre, South Melbourne

Tuesday to Sunday until June 12

Reviewed by Helen Buday

"The strongest thing I got from researching and writing this play was a sense of relief that I work in an industry where 'gay' is immaterial when it comes to judging a person's worth or sense of self. One hopes that one day the same may be said of professional sports."

So says James Gaddas, the playwright of Shadowboxing, which is beginning a new season in Melbourne. The play was first performed in the 1994 Sydney Festival with David Field in the role of Flynn. For its Melbourne premiere at Budiakis Theatre, Robert Morgan played Flynn, and again it is Morgan who will tackle the physical and emotional demands of Flynn the boxer, at Napier St Theatre.

Morgan's performance is remarkable, not only for his handling of Gaddas' provoking monologue and the emotional journey one travels with him in the 50 minutes of the show. Its tenderness, humour and power are qualities that are all set upon the physical backdrop of a boxer's workout.

Morgan's stamina is such that you never feel uncomfortable, but rather witness in awe as Morgan, who was a professional boxer before he began acting 15 years ago, takes the audience through Flynn's biggest fight of all, self-knowledge.

The setting is very simple. A punching bag becomes a father, a lover, a vent for Flynn's relentless combinations, and a symbol of his plight.

Shadowboxing is directed by acclaimed director and actor Bruce Myles, and lit by Glenn Hughes. It is a provoking, disturbing and plain old wonderful night in the theatre. Morgan's performance is outstanding.

Go and see it: Tuesday-Saturday at 10pm, Sunday at 7pm. The cost is $12/8 with a special concession rate of $6 on Tuesday. As a special offer to Green Left readers, bring a GL with you to the theatre and pay just $7.