The Shark Is Broken ★★★★ Ambassadors Theatre | Oct 9, 2021 - Feb 13, 2022


In Jaws Steven Spielberg turned waiting into high drama. Behind the scenes, in real life, waiting is not nearly as satisfying an activity. In art, as horrific as the shark might be, it gives meaning to the story whereas in real life it is unclear what supplies that sense of purpose. Without a shark, the three actors, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw engage in mind games and other less cruel pastimes. They escape into alcohol, drugs, sex or, in Scheider's case, a concentration on facts that avoid the existential issue. Their work offers only partial escape and the protagonists' back stories, like the film's backstory, reveal the dark sources of angst which cannot be tidily embodied in the ominous shark. Demetri Goritsas is excellent in the difficult, understated role of Scheider and Liam Murray Scott does a fine job capturing the manic energy and insecurity of Dreyfuss. However, it is Ian Shaw who dominates the stage in the role of his tragically self-aware father. Guy Masterson's direction is tight and Duncan Henderson, Jon Clark and Nina Dunn have worked together to create a setting that magically captures the plight of the characters on their small boat in the vastness of the ocean. There's a lot of humour in this work, but there's also a look at something more frightening than a shark.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Helen Maybanks.

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