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12 September, 2019

Deeply moving story weaving humour into an otherwise dark storyline

I was unsure of what to expect from a play written by a man best known for his comedic writing and acting in television shows such as ‘Black Comedy’.

From Darkness was on a whole other level.

It is a story that is at once both dark and funny as it dives deep into the relatable topics of family politics, culture, grief, humanity and connectedness or lack thereof, told with Steven Oliver’s signature sangfroid.

From Darkness presents a modern view of an Aboriginal Australian family.

The fact that this was an all-Indigenous cast was not lost on me as unfortunately, it is something rarely seen in Australian theatre.

The play is set on the anniversary of the suicide of a family’s eldest son (Vinnie) and highlights the disconnect between family members.

Lisa Maza (Abigail), Colin Smith (Eric), Benjin Maza (Preston), Ebony McGuire (Akira) and Roxanne McDonald (Nan) give outstanding performances as the family struggling within themselves, and with each other, to come to terms with their loss.

However, From Darkness is about so much more than family politics and coming to terms with grief.

Oliver’s script focuses heavily on Aboriginal spirituality rather than any political statement and elicits a deeper reflection from the audience about modern Aboriginal Australian life.

Excellent lighting and video effects help the audience to realise the everyday spirituality of Aboriginal Australians.

From Darkness takes us (from the darkness from which we all came) further into the light of understanding and inclusion and leads us towards important connections.

Every detail of this play has been carefully considered and has a significance.

As was Steven Oliver’s hopes for the play, the audience leaves ‘feeling and thinking’.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.