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Nick Earls' Zigzag Street on stage


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Stirling Players’ production of Zigzag Street  is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by popular writer Nick Earls.

Lee Cook plays Richard Derrington, a 28-year-old lawyer who has recently separated from his girlfriend, Anna, with circumstances leading to him living in his grandmother’s house.

He chats comfortably with the audience as he relates his various woes; since his break-up, he has had difficulty taking care of himself, and his work colleagues are clearly concerned for his wellbeing.

Miriam Keane, director and designer, has chosen to break the stage into segments so that scenes can move rapidly from the home to the office, a cafe, an airport and a hotel. Upstage is a cyclorama lit in colours for different scenes and used for line drawing projections to establish other locations. In order to light these locations, actors seemed to be working in shadow too often; when they walked into light downstage, the play came alive.


Zigzag Street. Photo: Mark Anolak

Richard is grieving his broken relationship, the loss of his grandmother and his lack of sexual activity, and is hit on by several inappropriate women. There are moments that work well, such as when he discovers information about his grandparents and tries to explain to his doctor (played empathically and effectively by Jonathan Pheasant) that the cuts on his arms were caused by a cat.

The start of act two is fun, when Richard, in his office late at night, dances in his jocks and then moves and grooves naked until he is caught. Carly Whittaker also brings energy and spark in this act as Rachel, the young lady he bumps into. Unsurprisingly, they form a relationship cutely and sweetly in an almost teenage first love kind of way.

The character Jeff describes Richard’s life as being bizarre, but for most of the evening his experiences felt quite tame, even ordinary. Zig Zag Street is enjoyable and has potential, but it is uneven, which may be because of the adaptation or inconsistencies within the production.

Stirling Players are presenting Zigzag Street at the Stirling Community Theatre until October 9.


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