Theatre review: Gruesome playground injuries

Theatre review: Gruesome playground injuries

Review Theatre

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES

Pangdemonium Productions

Esplanade Theatre Studio/Last Saturday

Boy meets pretty girl. Boy is besotted with girl. Boy spends entire life making sacrifices for this one girl who pushes him away but secretly loves him too.

If this sounds a little like the plot of cloyingly romantic movie The Notebook (2004), you would not be too far off, except that the boy in question is enormously accident-prone and the girl is deeply wounded inside.

Gruesome Playground Injuries, directed by Tracie Pang, flips over that darker underbelly of love and sacrifice in a play that leaps back and forth in time, tracing the anti-love story of Doug (Alan Wong) and Kayleen (Seong Hui Xuan) from age eight to 38.

They meet for the first time in their school's nurses' room after Doug falls off the school roof and ends up with an ugly gash on his face, and Kayleen is curled up with a stomachache. Through the years, they come together and fall apart, physically and emotionally, picking up plenty of injuries along the way.

It has been a brutally emotional year for Pangdemonium, and the theatre company has not let up with the punches in this final show of the season.

Unfortunately, it does not quite score a theatrical hat-trick after its wildly acclaimed productions of Rabbit Hole and Next To Normal. The problem lies a little more with the choice of script than the performance itself.

American playwright Rajiv Joseph has constructed what feels like a male fantasy of the ultimate sacrifice, of a man loving a broken woman his entire life, fulfilling some sort of desire to be a protector or knight in shining armour.

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