Review: Cuckoo – 45downstairs
You know who I am, don’t you?
Jane Miller’s Cuckoo would be a great movie. The writing has depth and emotion attached to it, it has you talking about it afterwards and the acting, for the most part, causes you to feel for the characters. Perhaps if it were a movie, it may not have felt so rushed and awkward.
There’s no denying that Miller has written an exceptional play; it injects veins of humour into a deeply dark psychological story. Cuckoo tells the story of a couple whose son, Johnno, went missing seventeen years ago, and the stranger that shows up on their doorstep claiming to be said missing son. The play is carefully scripted, balancing flashbacks of Leo and Mel’s last seventeen years without their son, to the weeks following the appearance of the stranger claiming to be Johnno.
The performances from Natalie Carr and Matthew Malony are as Leo and Mel are exceptional, creating real emotion that has the audiences genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of their characters. The clever switch from the beginning of the play; Leo as the positive and optimistic figure opposed to Mel’s negative and critical one, to the end where the roles are clearly reversed is superb.
Samuel Russo in the role of the stranger claiming to be their son plays the role in a manner that can only be described as creepy. Russo appears as instantly untrustworthy, failing to convince the audience of his claims. His childish portrayal of the character is interesting, especially with the lack of background on what exactly has happened to him over the previous seventeen years. It’s the creepy overtones that are brought to the character that let down part of the performance, perhaps if he had been more trustworthy the audience would have cared a little more, as opposed to simply focusing upon the characters of Leo and Mel.
Cuckoo is enjoyable. However, it’s not memorable. It needs more time to delve into the characters stories more, and more backstory on the flashes we were given. As said, it would make a great movie, but as a play it is lacking.