Tall Man a richly compelling drama

A scene from Tall Man.

Tall Man
Written by Angela Betzien
Directed by Leticia Caceres
La Mama, Melbourne

Despite the cold I ventured out to La Mama - a small, quirky and iconic theatre in Melbourne to see Tall Man, a new work by the infamous Melbourne theatre posse Real TV – the partnership of writer, Angela Betzien and director Leticia Caceres.

Within seconds I was transported into the hot, seething heart of the Australian bush, deep in the Dee Ranges of Central Queensland.

Tall Man is a richly compelling drama revealing the fractured bond between a disillusioned daughter and a guilt-ridden father. The story of Billie who, while on the run tracks down her father, Wayne, a retired criminal, in the hope that her father has kept the “stash” from his last job - a stolen inheritance he promised to her more than a decade ago. The story is further complicated by the fact that Wayne has an acquired brain injury and is half mad from a car accident while fleeing police. He is unable to remember the past or the promise he buried years ago.

Tall Man is a story of complex personal and political layers and Betzien has finely crafted a relationship between two dysfunctional characters in a way that is heartbreakingly beautiful. The performances are extraordinary and the design, direction and sound design is dark, minimal, riveting.

My only criticism of the play is that at fifty minutes, it’s just not long enough. It made me want more. It’s the kind of theatre you want to see again and again. I’m waiting for the film. I'd give it five stars out of five.

See also: Interview with Tall Man writer Angele Betzien