If. Destroyed. Still. True. ★★★ The Hope Theatre | Apr 26 - May 14, 2022

"You can't go home again." If. Destroyed. Still. True. is a familiar story of friends separated by time and the decisions to follow different paths in life. Jack Condon presents two young men who have bonded in youth but who become separated and increasingly lost to one another as they grow up. John, played by Condon, fears change and clings to the familiar even as he recognises how it limits his life. In the end, he retreats to a world of nostalgia, alcohol and anger. Best friend, James, played by Theo Ancient, manages to negotiate the path of social mobility but is riddled by guilt about what he has left behind. Both actors bring a resonant truth to their performances, and Condon is especially convincing as the partially self-aware, awkwardly articulate John. While Whitney Kehinde rings true as Charlotte, James' girlfriend, it is a role that is only partially developed. We are left guessing at her backstory, and her character serves only to bring into focus the fractures in the young men's relationship. The production team has done a fine job: Sarah Stacey's direction is confident and assured; Anna Kelsey's set and Gabriel Finn's lighting are cleverly evocative; Joseff Harris has created an excellent sound environment for the piece. If. Destroyed. Still. True. is a thoughtful look at how both those who play by the rules, and those who don't, are scarred by a society that limits and labels them. It's a touching reflection on possibilities limited, lives damaged and fidelity tested.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Alex Brenner.

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