Content Warning: rape, suicide, violence.
Blackrock is a gripping depiction of a group of Aussie teenagers trying to come to terms with the gang rape and murder of a fifteen-year-old girl. Set in a small surf town heavily swathed in sexism, the teenage girls frequently fall victim to the machismo and misogynistic behaviours exhibited by the young men.
The play centres on a male protagonist, Jared Kirby, as he navigates the return of his troubled older friend, a relationship, the murder of Tracy, and his mothers cancer surgery. It is a startling examination of notions of ‘mateship’ and the toxic practice of protecting and accepting abusers and sexual assaulters by both teens and parents alike. It also touches on issues of class, incarceration and suicide.
Blackrock depicts how teenage frivolity and teasing of boys in relationships for being “whipped”, to calling girls “slags” and “moles”, blaming girls for getting drunk and “wanting it”, can escalate to encouraging a violent rape culture that culminates in the murder of a young drunk girl. The young cast are passionate and do the story justice.
The play does not hold back in its display of sexism, Kirby is shown to be a boy struggling to come to terms with his own mistakes and the toxic social environment he is submersed in.
The theme of ‘who dunnit’ keeps the audience intrigued throughout the 60 minute duration. There is a brief reprieve of the intensity with comic relief in the form of a cameo character which relieves tension and humanises the play. This does not detract from the serious issues that this play depicts.
Blackrock is performed in The Arch in the Holden Street Theatres, a heritage listed re-purposed All Saints Anglican Church that initially opened in 1850. Blackrock will be running until the 24th of February, tickets cost $22 or $18 for concession.
Please do keep in mind that the content warnings for this article are the same as those of the play. IF you might find this content distressing, this play may not be the one for you.
Rating: 4/5 stars
If you or someone you know are struggling, do not hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or live chat here. For any sexual assualt and domestic violence counselling services, please visit 1800 RESPECT here.