After a sophisticated large scale, main stage dose of Lally Katz in the form of Neighbourhood Watch at Belvoir, Sydney audiences have an opportunity to view some of her earlier work, small-scale, intimate and full of possibility programmed as a part of the Griffin Independent season.

A piece of clever programming on the part of Sam Strong and the Griffins, to ride in the air currents of Belvoir – and a wonderful opportunity to, like the play itself, go back in time to visit the work of a younger Katz (circa 2005). This play was developed with Clare Watson (director) and the performers Suzannah McDonald and Katherine Tonkin. In this remounted production – a Melbourne import six years on – fun is the primary concern as we watch the wild adventures of two girls and their developing relationship. And it feels like a time capsule. And time is important. In the play. And to us, the audience. This is a 45 minute jaunt into a time, a place, a memory – well, multiple memories – and through time travel. We are seeing an early Katz, but through the lens of her recent acheivements. This production is time travel in itself – but we all know you can’t put your foot in the same river twice… these actors are older, Katz is more established – and there is an aspect of retro about this production that goes beyond the music and costumes. I am seeing a retro-Katz.

Hazel and Ruby are best friends. They are bound together through music, adventure, perspective, fear and a horrifying event. In a world of infinite choice and adventure, they flick between time, memory, make-believe and space – living and re-living the past with joyful nostalgia. They parallel each other – supplementing needs, witnessing realisations and philosophies, diving in and out of pop music… we see them delighted and terrified by their own imaginations – by their will in a vortex of love and companionship.

What is wonderful about this production is that we see the playwright writing what she knows, there and then – writing her friendship. Writing about intimacy between friends.

Smashed is a reminder of the joy and playfulness of language, of story, of memory. It’s also about invented, imagined and realised terror. But above all, it’s about how we are affected by time, space, each other – how things are eternal and always – how things don’t die, they just change.

Set designer Rob Miller, lighting designer Richard Vabre and sound designer Kelly Ryall honour the sophisitication of Katz’s current career with a beautiful miniature world – making Ruby and Hazel the biggest thing in that universe – and yet maintain the playful and chaotic spirit of Katz’s wild imagination. It’s a lovely, intimate, wonderful show – not too much – just enough to fill up your hand and your heart…