What to expect from an Australian play called “Galilee” about the ecological damage to the Great Barrier Reef? This is the moment when somebody had better start walking on water because the earth certainly needs a miracle.
But instead, playwright Christine Evans gives us a stale old tale: a small town’s main business—tourism— dries up and bit by bit small businesses follow. Our focus is not on the ocean but on a hair salon run by Mandy (D’Arcy Dersham),the mother of the central character Carol (Zoe Nebraska Feldman) who bartends in the local pub. Her two regular customers are a silent drinker and Jimmy (David Bardeen), a “fish whisperer” who hasn’t been right in the head since he spent two minutes without oxygen in the deep, communing with sharks. There is another drinker named Jemima (Ryane Nicole Studivant) whom we are told late in the play is a figment of Jimmy’s damaged brain.
After her friend, Laura, died, Carol has apparently lost her nerve, and cannot go back into the water. None of this is explored or explained, and we are left, stuck in the shallows. Harry (Adam Howard), a shark of another variety, fast talks Mandy out of her salon and into debt.
They all make valiant attempts at Australian accents, resulting in a desperate need for subtitles, although all they’re saying is stuff like, “It’s about living to fight another day” and “Do your best; pick up the pieces.”
Director Rebecca May Flowers has everyone schlepping stools around as they navigate from the bar to the hair salon. The set, made of bleached wood and designed by Dirk Durossette, is quite handsome.