Review: Tusk Tusk

Graduating from the Drama School at Flinders University at the end of 2010, for her final student piece director Nescha Jelk has directed Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk in an outstanding achievement.

The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind, and another, his mother called him ‘WILD THING!’ and Max said ‘I’LL EAT YOU UP!’ so he was sent to bed without eating anything.

The summer day after the family moves into their new London flat, siblings Elliot (Andrew Thomas) – fifteen, Maggie (Alyssa Mason) – fourteen, and Finn (Walter Buckley) – seven, find themselves alone, again, surrounded by boxes, and a  £70 train-ride from their old home and friends.  Mum has left, they have only the money they found in boxes, and they have no choice but to turn off the lights, turn down the noise, turn on the phones, and wait to know she will come back for them, and everything will be okay.

As Mason alternatively bounces with energy, then lies with lethargy, Maggie almost bursts with insatiable energy until she does burst, and collapse.  Maggie feels the loss of her mother more acutely than her bothers: where Elliot escapes, and Finn finds his parents in his siblings, Maggie must stay and be the “adult.”  Mason shows the jubilance, and mainly the weight, that being alone and scared – scared of what will happen if mum doesn’t return, and scared of what will happen if she does – and fourteen does.

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