Published in Buzzcuts:
They say that good plays make you think, but great plays make you feel. And Paper Crown Theatre’s debut production of You Walk Away, and Never Once Turn Your Head definitely falls into the latter, its cathartic performance leaving the audience with a sense of reflective nostalgia.
Set in the lounge room of a small and dingy apartment, it is a poignant play that provides an intimate look into the lives of two young people on the cusp of adulthood, examining the duality between staying grounded and running free.
As the lights dim down and the audience falls to a hush, we are introduced to two protagonists – Jack, an aspiring writer and Felicity, a young woman with a strong sense of nomadism. With Jack’s quiet disposition and Felicity’s outspoken nature, their personalities are at constant odds with each other and often clash. As Jack frequently puts it, they really are “quite the pair”.
But despite their differences, a beautiful friendship forms, and it is from this bond that we explore the many facets of being human. Their story is retold through narration during scene transitions, with the characters depicting what they first thought of each other before portraying the defining moments that embodied their intricate relationship.
Felicity (played by Niamh Hasset) is the standout comic relief, her opinionated and snarky attitude towards Jack providing an essential balance to the play’s otherwise complex themes. Though she may seem rather bitchy at first, her softer side is revealed as her friendship with Jack thickens. While we do not learn much about her, what we do know is that she is a girl who has suffered much heartbreak in the past, which is particularly evident when she talks about how people “always let you down”.
In contrast, Jack (played by Edan Goodall) uses the environment around him as a source of inspiration for his writing. When tragedy strikes his family, his friendship with Felicity is compromised when she learns that he is leaving to support them. Jack’s tragic news is the pivotal point in the entire performance, their heated argument hitting a climax when Felicity merely says “at least he is still alive” rather than comforting Jack who is clearly distressed. Their fierce exchange becomes a major blow to the friendship, much to both of their regrets.
The ending of the play is quite open ended, which just goes to show how honest and true-to-life this play really is. It’s not dramatic by any means, but that is what makes it memorable. It shows how life is not sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes things just happen because they do. To quote the famous Maya Angelou – people will forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Indeed, this play stands testament to that notion.
The physical location of the play did create some distractions as loud footsteps could be heard above, but nonetheless it was easy to dismiss because of the great acting. The minimalistic approach of this play encapsulates why independent theatre is so great, and as a new up-and-coming theatre company, Paper Crown Theatre (and Director Joseph Brown for that matter) certainly marched into the scene with a subtle bang.
Overall, You Walk Away, and Never Once Turn Your Head is a quiet achiever and one that sparks a personal reflection that resonates within you long after you have seen it.
Click here for more information about the show to purchase tickets.