Jonny and Tim are brothers and this show is their story – a true story – but it’s no tale of happy families. Jon Bennett’s powerpoint presentation takes us on a trip through a tortured relationship, dissecting one bully brother’s questionable decisions with the aid of photographic highlights and a few crucial props.
Despite the sibling torment, theirs was a childhood in country South Australia that couldn’t have been any further away from the world of drugs and bikies that led to Tim’s eventual downfall.
Tim has many loves in his life, but his main love becomes meth (for the unfamiliar, meth is methamphetamine – a highly addictive street drug, not known for offering life-enhancing opportunities). Cooking meth was Tim’s dream job until a workplace accident took him from his position halfway up the dodgy career ladder to a police chase, hospital and later prison. Turns out you need more savvy than Tim possesses to outwit the criminal underworld. Knowing your product and having a swift set of legs doesn’t cut it.
This catalogue of abuse and addiction, from sugary ’80s pop to drugs of every persuasion, is punctuated with correspondence exchanged between the brothers during Tim’s incarceration.
Bennett’s skilful storytelling frequently adjusts the balance between nightmare and comedy – it’s a powerful, full-on performance that crosses plenty of lines. There’s warmth as well as brutality, though, and the epilogue answers the burning question of how it all turned out. Tim’s new dependence remains consuming, but is much less lethal.
Fire in the Meth Lab is (surprisingly) hilarious, and highly recommended if you can handle some strong language and adult themes.
Fire in the Meth Lab is at Tuxedo Cat @ Raj House until March 3.
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