Replay, by Phillip Kavanagh | Directed by Lee Lewis

Griffin Theatre (http://www.griffintheatre.com.au) | Stables Theatre, Darlinghurst, Sydney | Until 7 May

Replay, Phillip Kavanagh’s latest play, is certainly theatrically unconventional. The scenario centres on three brothers — John (Alfie Gledhill), Michael (Jack Finsterer) and Peter (Anthony Gooley).  John and Peter as children both witness the death of Michael but they do not share the same account of the events.

These individual accounts of events form the narrative, and these three most capable actors, convincingly convey their individual struggle to remember — as well as playing dual roles.

The eventuating relationships undergo radical change and the resulting discord between them is the substance of Kavanagh’s probing dialogue, which is sharp, short and ultra-realistic, and keeps us always in the moment.

There were many times when I found myself holding my breath as the verbal exchanges between the cast gained momentum, and the assembled personal journeys built to a  crescendo.

Memories and the process of remembering has been the basis of many post-modern dramas; questions are posed but are not always required to have answers. Likewise, in this jigsaw puzzle of a play, as an audience we are very much positioned to rely on intuition.

Lee Lewis’s astute direction guides us through this labyrinth, taking us to a place where we realise that the human elements of this story can be applied to conflict on a social and political level. As the brothers struggle to document their past events they almost convey the parallel turmoil of the history wars — Forgetting the past will ultimately undermine our hopes for the future.

Which inevitably brings us to further questions that Kavanagh poses. How is a cohesive record of our shared past compiled? Who holds this power? And who might want to remember things differently?

For me the major question was and is — are we stuck in an endless cycle of repetition?