If you’ve been waiting for a strong new local drama this year there is good news: it belatedly arrives next week in the form of Seven Types of Ambiguity.
The catalyst for this six part drama, based on Elliot Perlman’s novel, is the disappearance of a child in suburban Melbourne. But each episode shifts its lens to the perspective of a different player.
The opening chapter centres around the boy’s father, Brighton stockbroker Joe (Alex Dimitriades) who is in the middle of locking in a huge investor deal, together with his colleague Mitch (Anthony Hayes). But a simple school pick-up for his 7 year old Sam (Harrison Molloy) turns into every parent’s worst nightmare…. he is nowhere to be seen.
As Joe’s wife Anna (Leanna Walsman) arrives distraught, Detective Staszic (Sarah Pierse) begins to elicit clues to this mystery, which become even more obtuse when Sam is recovered -safely- by persons known to his parents.
Suddenly, this isn’t a straightforward race against time to recover a missing child, but a complex labyrinth as to why he was taken, and just whom is covering their tracks?
Along the way other key characters to take centrestage will be played by Hugo Weaving, Xavier Samuel, Andrea Demetriades, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter (I don’t really want to reveal how….).
Dimitriades is brooding in this cool customer of a drama, trapped between a career-making deal and his family life unravelling before his eyes. As we have seen in recent outings such as The Principal, he is exemplary with this kind of material.
The beauty of Jacquelin Perske’s script in the hands of director Glendyn Ivin is the focus of entering the world through the eyes of a central viewpoint as opposed to over-egging the plot with too many characters.
The opening chapter sparingly introduces almost all of its central players, plus supporting roles by Nicholas Bell and Janet Andrewartha (there are also cameos by Andrew McFarlane an even Alyce Platt). But this is a “Joe” episode in much the same way as The Slap was structured -both being exec produced by Tony Ayres (joined here by Perske).
It was also great to see Sarah Pierse (Offspring, Old School) back in a key role, including one with some authority.
Ivin allows his cast to play with subtext without resorting to kitchen-sink histrionics -never has a single shot of a muffin represented such hollow concern….
Seven Types of Ambiguity doesn’t follow the desperate, lonely path James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor faced in The Missing choosing instead to play with shades of grey. In the hands of such a talented cast and crew I look forward to piecing this jigsaw puzzle together.
Seven Types of Ambiguity premieres 8:30pm Thursday April 13 on ABC with episodes available for iview binge.