Review: Share House

A den of secrecy and compromised blame

By Owen James

Emerging company ‘Here and Now Collective’ have staged original drama Share House as part of the Howard Fine Studio’s current ‘Fine At Fringe’ season. This stimulating piece dissects the “intertwining of loyalty and manipulation” through slowly unfolding the tenuous, damaged relationships between four housemates following a grave incident one drunken night.

Writer/director Adeodatus McCormack has placed his four characters in a pressure-cooker setting (the share house), ensuring constant fissure which escalates in every scene. He has also very effectively staged the story in a nonlinear progression, which allows the audience to slowly piece together every separate piece of the puzzle, clue by clue. While there are moments of stilted and simplistic dialogue, the pace and tone are highly naturalistic for the most part, giving the cast ample opportunity for excavating varying levels of deep emotional engagement with their characters.

This well-matched cast of four explore the progression and consequences of grief, ambition and jealousy, with each individual encountering debilitating emotional stability throughout the course of the story. There are undoubtedly deeper and perhaps more realistic emotive heights and depths to be mined, but we are presented with four clearly developed and distinct characters who engage with this rollercoaster admirably and sensitively. As tensions rise and friendships teeter on the brink of collapse, mundane everyday routine gradually degrades into hollow repetition – and the true motivation of sinister characters comes to light.

Jorja Bentley and Maya Cohen both give compelling performances as eventually rivalrous housemates Sam and Shannon, respectively. They successfully highlight the bitter acrimony swelling between them, and demonstrate the growing pertinence of hobbies (photography) and reliance on vices (alcohol) introduced from the top of the show, which we come to learn play a larger part in unravelling the mystery at the story’s core. Cohen reliably establishes Shannon’s traumatic journey and coerced suspicion.

Amalia Krueger plays anarchistic housemate Taylor, who is coldly calculating but also fraught with fragility. She is at her best when tempers finally explode and can expound on Taylor’s venomous intentions. Claudia Piggott as the narrative springboard Jaime makes the most of her minimal stage time with a considered, naïve character.

Delve into a den of secrecy and compromised blame in Share House, playing until September 21st at The MC Showroom, Prahran.