Chekhov Triptych,  Family of Strangers, Northcote Townhall,  189 High Street Northcote

Words – Julia Howland

Yet again Melbourne Fringe has brought us another excellent display of underground Melbourne creatives at their best. One to mention is Family of Strangers, a not-for-profit theatre company, who have brought to life the very dark and yet whimsical performance written by Anton Chekhov.

Checkovphoto portrait

It was an endlessly cold and windy Melbourne night as I walked indiscriminately around Northcote with only moments to spare. Walking into the Town Hall, red wine whisked off the bar, and I was introduced to a red lipped singer with the appropriate Moscow-esque companions. She brings us into the world of The Dangers of Tobacco. A timid man lectures about the trouble with smoking while showing us the hatred he holds for his wife and how he perhaps could have had more, revealing the dangers of his own decisions. The rouge lips begin again and we transcend into the home of a saddened widow, in The Bear. When her irate neighbour stomps through the door demanding an old debt, we watch as an unusual and almost awkward love ignites. An accordion accompanies the red lips and we’re moved into a theatre. An old man bursts through awaiting recognition, love, affection or even just a glimpse of the cast party, but no one is to be found. He finds himself falling deeper into a desperate attempt at grabbing onto what little piece of life he has when he succumbs to the realisation of old age. But then, a companion enters and we witness the solemn man rejoice in memories of achievement and pride whilst reciting his Swan Song.

Keep an eye on Family of Strangers for more interesting, enlightening and delightfully dark performances.



images courtesy of Family of Strangers