A betrayal of trust

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 January, 1994, 12:00am

Gymnopedy (The Naked Child), Stage Renegades, Fringe Studio. Jan 21-23.

ONE word sums up a lot about this production which was performed at the Fringe Festival: brave.

Brave was the writer, Dino Mahoney, who penned this moving drama about child abuse and brave was the young amateur cast which took on the complex characters that make up Gymnopedy.

In the world of Marianne, Red, Robin and Dayne - who call a half-way house for abused children home - dreaming of being chased by men with knives is considered normal . . . and so the harrowing scene is set.

This play looks at one night in the lives of the four young teenagers and through their games, talk, revelations - graphically capturing the torment and destructive power of abuse, both violent and sexual.

Each one's outlook on life may differ, but all have been betrayed by the one person they were taught to trust - their fathers.

The father is played by one actor, John Cousins. The decision to cast one man as three different abusers is a clever one. It says to us that he could be anybody and everybody.

Without graphically detailing the mental and physical torture done to these youngsters, Mahoney leaves little doubt that these children have been to hell. This is reinforced when a father refers to his son as his ''understudy''.

Gymnopedy is undoubtedly an amateur production. While it would be interesting to see this play given the slickness of a professional delivery, the earnestness of the young performers from the Island School - Susie Wilkins, Sharon Maloney, Adam Barty and Chris Ayres - gives the play a rawness that perhaps makes the play more real.




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