Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

The impact of a sexual assault allegation on residents of an Irish town is at the heart of the play Duck Duck Goose.

Rachel Nutchey (Jane) and Mitchell Holland (Chris) star in Duck Duck Goose.*

Written by Caitríona Daly in 2021 for the Dublin Theatre Festival, the play is being staged at Melbourne’s Theatre Works by THAT production company.

Duck Duck Goose follows the story of Chris  (Mitchell Holland), a young Irish man living in Galway, who meets Jane (Rachel Nutchey) in the aftermath of a what seems to have been a pretty wild house party.

Showing little emotion during their conversation, Jane proceeds to tell Chris that his best friend Davey (Matt Domingo) raped her and another of his friends Andy (Ilai Swindells) also tried to attack her.

From left: Ilai Swindells (Andy), Mitchell Holland (Chris) and Matt Domingo (Davey).*

Jane explains she and Davey have history, something she insists Chris must have known given a picture of her with her nipple showing had been distributed on a WhatsApp group chat by Davey accompanied by some disgusting comments.

Chris insists he knows nothing of this group and that nothing has appeared on the WhatsApp group he manages.  On hearing of Jane’s rape allegation Davey asks Chris to delete this WhatsApp group.  Believing Davey to be innocent Chris agrees, a decision which sees him becoming a major player in Jane’s allegation. Why, people demand to know, did he agree to delete this What’s App group?  His involvement in the case has a major impact on his family including his sister Sarah (Emily Carr).

Trying to spare his family from the vitriolic attacks they are experiencing, Chris agrees to do a radio interview with a former student from his school, Leo (also played by Swindells). However, the interview is a disaster and only makes matters worse.

Mitchell Holland (Chris) and Jeanda St James (Marie).*

Interactions with several women he meets over the three years it takes for the case to go to court, including Marie (Jeanda St James), force Chris to revisit his views on Davey and Andy’s innocence.  Marie’s story of the impact of an incident on a bus is especially moving and thought provoking for Chris (as well as the audience due to St James’ delivery).

Thanks to the script and work of Holland `the Chris’ we see at the end of the 90-minute play is very different to the one we met in the beginning.

Domingo’s performance is such that it’s not clear if he is guilty or innocent while Carr’s Sarah is also very believable as an innocent person caught up in a nightmarish situation.

Mitchell Holland (Chris) and Emily Carr (Sarah).*

St James, Swindells and Nutchey are each called on to play several characters which they do with great success although at times their Irish accents are such that the dialogue is challenging to comprehend.  There are surtitles, however these are at times difficult to read.

While Duck Duck Goose is challenging to watch due to its subject matter (audience members are warned of this and given a number to call if they are distressed by the content), it effectively captures the complexity of such cases. It also illustrates the devastating effects on those directly and indirectly involved in, or indeed anyone impacted by, a sexual assault.

Duck Duck Goose is playing at Theatre Works until April 13.  Visit the Theatre Works website for tickets and more information.

Jenny Burns attended opening night of Duck Duck Goose as a guest of the production company.

*Photo credit: Darren Gill.

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