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City front and centre | The West Australian

Theatre

Our Town

3.5 stars

State Theatre Centre Courtyard

REVIEW ANNELIES GARTNER

It’s a brave idea to cast everyday Perth citizens alongside professional actors. It’s even braver to stage it in the round.

But that’s exactly what Black Swan State Theatre Company did with Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town.

The three-act play, set in the fictional US town of Grover’s Corners, opened on Saturday night in the courtyard of the State Theatre Centre with the stage square and centre.

The production is anchored by professional actors Abbie-lee Lewis, Ian Michael and Shari Sebbens. The Perth community members taking part change each night and, if our performance is anything to go by, if you didn’t know, it isn’t obvious who are the non-professionals.

The minimalist set and costumes rely on the audience to harness their imagination and build their own interpretation of the setting. But the CBD backdrop and scenes taking place on the walkway above the courtyard created a sense of watching something in our town.

Directed by Black Swan artistic director Clare Watson, the production also features a live choir. Rhythmos Choir performed on this night and their version of Cher’s Believe was a highlight.

Our Town was first performed in 1938.

It’s easy to see why it’s stood the test of time and is often performed in schools with the theme of belonging, but it is a slow burner of a play.

Our Town is on Thursday to Sunday and February 20 and 23

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