POSTED: 21 JULY 2010

Rommy, by Nick Coyle

Hard Judy & Tamarama Rock Surfers | Old Fitzroy Hotel, Woolloomoolloo, Sydney | Until 7 August

I went along to Rommy expecting weird, exciting things from somewhere well beyond left field.

My first experience of young Sydney playwright and director Nick Coyle came early last year at Griffin’s Stables Theatre, where I had the enormous pleasure of seeing an adrenalin-charged performance of his fantastical Hammerhead (is dead).

In Rommy, Coyle has reined in some of the wilder, more hallucinatory elements but he’s certainly lost none of his imagination. He also has the ability to illuminate his plot through just a few simple lines.

Gloria (Janie Gibson) is just a normal, straight-up-and-down young woman who’s had the misfortune to somehow tumble into a city’s rat-infested sewerage-and-drainage system, though it could just as easily be the subterranean world of Pluto or Hades.

She’s lost her memory and is carrying a few injuries as well.

And she’s not alone... not even if you exclude the wildlife.

The androgynous Fluke (Virginia Gay) and her younger sister Cat400 (Anna Houston) have been there for most of their lives... left by their parents during a cataclysmic disaster with the assurance that they would return but probably not for quite some time.

They’re surviving ... just ... but they’re also mentally over the edge, especially Cat400, with Anna Houston beautifully reprising the madness of a previous role as Mindy in Hammerhead.

Their lives are controlled by Rommy, a hard but fair imaginary overlord created mostly in the mind of Fluke.

For Cat400, Gloria is a potential friend... for Fluke she’s a potential threat. A few things need to worked through.

There’s plenty of mostly dark humour in Rommy, but there are generous slices of humanity as well. You’ll have to see for yourself the play’s resolution.

An enthralling and quite entertaining way to spend 80 minutes or so.