Quality theatre by any name

Ben Mortley and Jo Morris.

It's a name to take seriously, despite itself. I don't mean Those Who Fall in Love Like Anchors Dropped Upon the Ocean Floor (which, brevity being the soul of wit, we shall hereafter concertina to Twifilladutof), so much as its writer, the extravagantly monikered Finegan Kruckemeyer.

The author of this sparkling exploration of love, time and the whole damn thing that closes the 2014 Blue Room season is a playwriting beast.

Still only 33, Kruckemeyer has emerged from Tasmania more than 70 times with work, mainly for children, that is performed worldwide.

This year alone he has had 16 shows in production across five continents. Recently we've seen Barking Gecko's terrific production of This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, and, at last year's Awesome Festival, the Helpmann Award- winning Boats (yep, just Boats) from Terrapin Theatre.

There are many of the good things about children's theatre in Twifilladutof, despite its decidedly adult themes and content. It's direct and open, imaginative and mischievous.

Four stories fold across each other over time and space, from a watchmaker's shopfront in Paris to a (seemingly) doomed Cold War-era Russian submarine lurking off the US coast, from a rabbit shoot in the Appalachian backwoods to an inner-city restaurant in Australia.

In all these locations, there's a power that brings people together and a force that threatens to keep them apart. That force is time and the power is love.

The Parisian watchmaker Alain (Ben Mortley), who opens proceedings with a wonderful monologue on timekeeping and its consequences, doesn't see Brigit (Renee Newman- Storen) walking past until, maybe, too late.

It's The Girl From Ipanema, back-to-front. In the backwoods, Terri Case (Jo Morris) might be shooting rabbits but what she's aiming at is Marco. Aboard the sub, Alina and Eva clutch at love while, according to their unhinged captain, the world above the waves has been reduced to ash.

At the restaurant, Brian makes a complete hash of his blind date with Kirsty.

Each story glitters with humour but a melancholy hangs over them. Love, for all these characters, is as elusive as it is fundamental; life devours itself and any fool who dares to tell the time.

As shiny as these four stories are, they still have to be kept in the air, and the troupe assembled for the purpose here can't be faulted.

Director Adam Mitchell revels in the play's intricacies and he's aided and abetted by India Mehta's ingenious round-hole-in-a-square-peg set, which does everything he wants and the play needs.

As do the actors, all excellent in this: we see the vivacious Morris and Mortley often, and for good reason, but Newman-Storen is a revelation, tottering on the edge sometimes but coming through with a wide-eyed and open-mouthed gem of a performance.