Nicholas Denton, Rachel Gordon, Ian Bliss, Harry Tseng

Nicholas Denton, Rachel Gordon, Ian Bliss, Harry Tseng

MTC presents Jasper Jones
Directed by Sam Strong. Adapted for the stage by Kate Mulvany from the book by Craig Silvey
1 August-9 September 2016
Southbank Theatre
Two hours and 30 minutes including interval
Theatre review by Alex Schleibs

Jasper Jones is set amongst the fibro houses of Corrigan, a small Australian town on the backroads to nowhere. Corrigan is a good, wholesome town, where nothing ever happens. That is, until now.

The play begins with the towns resident bad boy Jasper Jones (played by Guy Simon) calling on the quiet, book loving town outcast Charlie Bucktin (played by Nicholas Denton) late one summer night. Jasper needs his help, and he needs his help urgently. Despite having little to no prior relationship, Charlie can sense that this is a request he cannot deny and despite his nagging doubt and fear of reprisal for sneaking out, he follows the exasperated Jones until they reach Jasper’s private sanctuary. It is there Charlie is confronted with the last thing he ever expected to see, the badly beaten dead body of local girl Laura Wishart (played by Taylor Ferguson). Traumatised, the pair decide to hide the body out of fear that Jasper will be blamed and make a pact to solve the crime themselves. But as the summer swelters and the days drag on, Laura’s disappearance sets the towns rumour mill into overdrive. Can the pair keep their secret and find out who was behind this horrific crime?

The collaboration between Kate Mulvany’s adaptation and Anna Cordingley’s set beautifully evoke the atmosphere of rural Australia. This picturesque backdrop is the perfect setting for the touching story of Jasper Jones.
Jasper Jones is one of those rare productions that catches your breath in the first 5 minutes and maintains that sense of suspense throughout the entire play. Be prepared to run the emotional gauntlet with this adaptation as it has a little bit of everything, from blasé to beautiful to ugly and back again, as all honest reflections on life do. A touchingly tragic story that shows that heroes come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes “you just need to get brave”.

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