Rattling the Keys – Deadset Theatre Company

Rattling the Keys – Deadset Theatre Company

Coober Pedy is both unique and iconic. A melting pot of nationalities and cultures.a place of transience and feverish expectation; unbearably hot in summer; balmy, stark yet stunning in the cooler months. A remote place. A place in which you know without asking that the “rules” are different. Over a period of about a dozen years spanning the 1990s I visited Coober Pedy many times in the course of my employment in education, both adult and school age. I once conducted a month long course at the Opal Inn conference room for targeted unemployed people in the town. It was probably the toughest assignment I ever attempted.

In “Rattling the Keys” Zoe Muller’s original script captures much of the essence of Coober Pedy. Among the five friends (including a brother/sister pair) there exists a bond of secretive suspicion and a “keep your own counsel” attitude that is evident in the broader community too. It is a tightly written piece that admirably captures the tensions played out between the five characters. The pace of the action is well married to the content and its narrative. And, at times the cast uses the power of brooding silence to great dramatic effect in this short compelling piece of theatre.

Zoe together with her fellow players Matilda Butler, Isaac Troisi, Albert Ngo and Dylan Miller are an evenly matched and powerful ensemble. The claustrophobic space within the Mill’s performance rectangle added to the “in your face” immediacy of the drama. The (mostly) youthful audience (very pleasing to see) was totally immersed and enthralled throughout.

A boy has been stabbed to death in the house next door. No motive is evident nor is one offered. Variously, family background, boredom and an inability to make considered decisions coupled with a reliance on drugs and alcohol, particularly by Teddy and Kai, creates a nexus desperately difficult to overcome. It has been the likely cause of a senseless murder and, for at least one of the five, it cannot end well.

Each of the five players gave fine performances throughout. And each actor maintained the intense concentration necessary to work in such a confined space. Each contributed equally to the impressive end product.

This is, in my opinion, the best that “Deadset Theatre” has offered thus far. Deadset’s journey is well under way and I foresee many significant milestones ahead.


Rattling the Keys
Deadset Theatre Company
The Mill, Creative Studios
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This production was reviewed by:

Alan Shepley
Alan Shepley
Whilst at University and Adelaide Teachers College he performed with Adelaide Uni Footlights, Therry and Theatre Guild before being appointed to country teaching positions. Over 35 years he was involved with school and/or community theatre productions in all facets of getting a show on stage at Pt. Augusta, Kadina , Balaklava and Pt. Pirie.

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