Blue ★★★★

Written by Thomas Weatherall. World Premiere. Sydney Festival. Belvoir St Theatre. Jan 14 – Jan 29, 2023.

Thomas Weatherall (Heartbreak High) cements his place as an Australia talent to watch by writing and starring in his own one-man show, Blue, at Belvoir St Theatre. And it’s good! Very good!

As you enter the upstairs Belvoir theatre you are greeted by a sea of blue, washing up a curved wall, with a solitary chair on the stage. Weatherall plays Mark, a young man who has moved out of home and is settling into life as a renter. As he tells stories of his childhood, and recites letters between his mother and himself, he paints a picture of loss, pain and mental health struggles that have defined his young life so far.

One man shows are tricky beasts and director Deborah Brown keeps the action moving by having Weatherall running up and down the wall, moving elements of the staging around (it’s a beautiful set designed by Jacob Nash and Cris Baldwin). Combined with projections by David Bergman, sound design by Wil Hughes and lighting design by Chloe Ogilvie, Blue is never static, never stale. 

Twenty-two year old Weatherall has an appealing stage presence. Warm and inviting while also insecure, there is a real “love me” puppy dog energy to Mark – a wounded young man missing intimacy. As Mark’s tale unfolds, you feel the pain and disappointment he masks behind his smiles and story-telling delivery. To not only hold an audience for the 80 min duration, but to keep them emotionally and intellectually engaged the whole time, is no easy task and Weatherall acquits himself with style. 

The script is strong, presenting the issues of depression with a welcome lack of melodrama (mined from Weatherall’s personal experiences). In the programme Weatherall says he wants to start a dialogue about youth mental health and this is a great place to start. The notably younger-than-usual audience were clearly listening closely. While lacking the amplified highs and lows of the best monologues (see Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall as a similar example), the story of Blue unwraps itself at a more steady, almost matter-of-fact pace, which never feels dull, but could possibly benefit from opportunities for added dynamism. 

Thomas Weatherall is clearly a talent we can expect years of great work from. Combining mainstream TV appeal with a clear understanding of stage-craft he seems destined for great things and Blue is hopefully the start of a brilliant stage career.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: