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The Sydney Fringe: A Stolen Giraffe - Review by Lucy Giles

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

A bizarre title which gives nothing away about the show. You really have nothing to go off except the various guesses you can conclude to. Is it about a show about poachers? Does zoo-knapping come into play? Will Healthy Harold make an appearance? Not once does the word “apocalypse” come to mind and yet that’s exactly what this show is about. Three best mates, Jude, David and Kal, get together for a last dinner as they contemplate the meteor that’s about to hit the earth within the next 4 hours, wiping out the world as we know it. They discuss love, loss, anger and of course death as they come to terms with their encroaching demise. Yeah, hate to break it to you, but no giraffe puppets come into play here.

Russell Cronin plays the steady Jude who hosts the dinner. Jude is organised, conservative and timid and we find out that he has had an incredibly long-term relationship with a girl Jules which ended badly. Cronin plays this character gracefully and brilliantly. His vulnerability was truly inspiring and probably was the most relatable character on-stage. His grounded manner created a sense of familiarity about Jude that you can’t help but engage with.

Jude is juxtaposed with the playful character David, portrayed by the very talented James Martin. David is a nihilistic, devil-may-care failed writer who chooses to spend his last days rioting in the streets for good fun. Martin does a fantastic job at listening to his fellow actors, but still manages to be the most outspoken one onstage. He portrays this very energetic personality with so much passion that you can’t help but root for him to survive.

And then there’s Kal, their spiritual and limber friend who tells them truths they don’t want to face. He is personified by Arshia Dehghani who is calm and grounded in amidst the chaos of the other two. Dehshani brings a lot of kindness and gentility to his character, showing a genuine love to the others and re-enforcing this motif of brotherhood between them all.

There is a lot of light and dark moments to this play, but that’s why it’s so fascinating to watch. Dany Akbar, the writer and director, has done a wonderful job at capturing a very human experience in a setting of absolute absurdity. This is a smart play that maintains an easy wit about some pretty intense themes, but that just makes it more engaging. Would definitely recommend. 5 out of 5 impending dooms.

Photo Credit: LSH Media

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