Terminus @ Sydney Opera House

A couple of friends and I went to see “Terminus” at the Sydney Opera House this afternoon, a current production by the Sydney Theatre Company.

It’s one of those plays you spend half the time wondering where it’s going, where a number of different stories are told, and you spend half of the play wondering if they’ll link up in the end. Or if maybe the writer had just a few great ideas, but none of them was worth a play in its own right, so ended up joining them together in an awkward kind of way… think “Love Actually”.

There are three stories in this place. The first concerns a Lifeline counsellor and school teacher who encounters a former student on the phone who is close to full-term pregnancy. At almost nine months pregnant, the student has, in her mind, few options other than a backyard abortion (the play is set in Ireland). Concerned for her welfare, the teacher goes in search of her former student and, in turn, finds herself in a terrible situation. The second concerns a young woman seemingly being trapped into having a threesome with the husband or a close friend. The third concerns a man who goes to a “desperate and dateless” ball in search of companionship, and who in turn finds himself in a terrible situation also. In case you’re wondering, all three stories are linked thought it’s not until almost the end when the links become apparent.

In the end I loved one third of the play. The story about the school teacher is both compelling and realistic. I found the other stories a little too unbelievable. And although both actors played their role well, the actor who played the school teacher was truly believable. This is despite the rather spectacular situations described and the play often being in rhyming verse. Yes, rhyming verse, though interestingly it remained believable throughout and was never too clever by half.

“The acting was superb, though I’m not sure about the play” was how my friend Colin summed it up in the end. “What was it all about?” we all came out wondering. Still, we enjoyed it very much.

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