Actors and former prisoners work side by side in La Boite's The Chat - a thought-provoking piece about the relationship between a parole officer and an offender.
Actors and former prisoners work side by side in La Boite's The Chat - a thought-provoking piece about the relationship between a parole officer and an offender. Bryony Jackson

REVIEW: Can you trust a proven criminal?

TRUST is difficult when the relationship is between a criminal and the person able to remove liberty with the swift movement of a pen.

Does a parole officer give an offender the benefit of the doubt as they offer every excuse in the book for their behaviour?

The marijuana in the dirty urine sample is from passively inhaling smoke at a party.

The amphetamines in another dirty sample are from a double dose of "night nurse" tablets.

The former prisoner says he is trying to reform, that he needs more support.

But is that enough to keep him in the community, when the parole officer knows they could be one drug binge away from committing more crimes? What if, the next time, a life is lost?

Or is it inevitable that they will fall off the horse a few times before they hit the straight and narrow? Should they be given more leeway till they find their way?

At what point should people be forgiven for their crimes? Who gets to decide? What happens if they get it wrong?

Actors and former prisoners work side by side in La Boite's The Chat - a thought-provoking piece about the relationship between a parole officer and an offender.
Actors and former prisoners work side by side in La Boite's The Chat - a thought-provoking piece about the relationship between a parole officer and an offender. Bryony Jackson

La Boite Indie's latest production The Chat is certainly though-provoking in both its content and its format.

The audience is split on two sides of the room, with parole office interviews and chatter happening at either end.

Former prisoners engage in alternative therapy between the two - being led blindly in a trust exercise undoubtedly linked to the overall theme.

The brainchild of former parole officer James Brennan, the performance is fresh each night with real former offenders and special social justice guests participating.

The main plot is a role reversal, labelled transpersonalisation, where the offender must assume the parole officer role to confront his parole breaches and his crimes.

He is judged on his performance, with audience members jumping in to have a say as well.

Despite a bizarre scene towards the end, The Chat was, for the main, a terrific concept that was executed well.

Worth the $28. But get in quick, last show at the Brisbane venue is Saturday November 14.

Buy tickets here



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