'Anatomy of Gray' - Anonymous Review
A thoughtful, poignant, but often funny tale, ‘Anatomy of Gray’ is a coming-of-age story for more than just its teenage heroine. The arrival of Dr. Galen P. Gray (in a hot air balloon, no less) to a small town in 1800s Indiana brings widespread disruption, as he brings the villagers the first elements of science most have ever seen. At the same time, a mysterious illness begins to sweep through the town, striking fear and doubt into the God-fearing hearts of the villagers, and threatening everything.
From the moment I entered the Drama Studio, I was impressed by this show. The cabaret seating style made the showing so intimate and personal, giving it a real timeless feel that transported the audience to Indiana. Every member of the cast absolutely shone, each bringing a freshness and distinct personality to their role which really made the characters come to life. Kane Lawrence has done an incredible job: each scene is enthralling and well thought-out, and the amount of love given to the performance shines in the sheer emotion the actors bring. A particular standout for me has to be the wonderful Isla Robertson, who embodied June, our young heroine, so well: at once a childish, humorous teenager and a strong, emotional narrator. Matthew Bevan played the perfect Gray, well-balanced between humour and seriousness, and with real humanity. Last mention must go to Will Turner, because I cannot imagine a better performance of Pastor Phineas Wingfield, and because he made me laugh out loud in a play that gave me so many reasons for sadness.
As much credit must go to the fabulous tech team. Rowan Read’s gorgeous lighting immediately created the most beautiful atmosphere in which to set this show; I would like every room in my house to be lit by the warm glow of those festoons please, they were perfect. What’s more, the inventive use of hanging lamps over the stage only added to the intimate feel of the show; this was a beautiful touch and the kind of extra thought that brings a new level to shows. Jonathan Payne’s set achieved the masterful balance of simple but artful; every last detail was paid attention to, from the incredible hanging pictures, to the carefully placed plants, to the fact that he built an actual boat. The working of lighting and set in tandem to illustrate individual plot points was a particular highlight, which displayed real creativity. Costumes by Abbie Mitchell and Molly Wyatt were perfectly pitched and looked completely authentic, and use of sound by Owen Mul was also excellent, if a little loud at times, adding another dimension to this production. All in all, I really believed us to be in late 1800s Indiana.
I have seen every SUTCo show this semester, and ‘Anatomy of Gray’, for me, is the best. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see this wonderful creation: beautiful story, beautifully played, with beautiful tech. Get your tickets.