A Grain of Sand, Queen Hades Productions | Review

Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.


Aedan’s girlfriend Monica is missing, presumed dead, and Aedan is the only suspect of the crime. Trapped in an AI program that creates a robotic replica of Monica, called a ‘shadow’, he is forced to relive every moment of his relationship before a jury, played by the audience – in the hope that being confronted with her memory will compel him to confess. The play’s ending is then dependent on us, as we decide whether to convict, and how.

Grain of Sand is a story that challenges your perception of justice and the potential and pitfalls of AI and surveillance tech. Its portrayal of the way in which domestic violence often festers behind closed doors forces us to reckon with the moral ambiguity of the use of invasive AI tech to interrogate those accused but not convicted of a crime.

Kelly Robinson’s performance as AI shadow Monica is the standout of the show. She skillfully navigates between her roles as lively, ambitious Monica in her memories and the AI she really is. At the centre of the story is the flawed and conflicting Aedan, played by Enoch Li, and Susanna Pang is our confident and charismatic guide through this complex, twisting tale.

Throughout the show, you are forced to consistently question the integrity of each character’s dialogue – but at the end of the day, it’s their actions that define them. A highlight of the performance is the choreography of the characters’ journeys as they fast forward through numerous memory loops, which provides a clear and captivating insight into their experience. I only wish there were more scenes like this through the show that didn’t rely as much on dialogue. Lighting is also used in a really interesting way switching between cool blue and warm yellow as the story flicks between memory and reality.

Although the story’s set-up could be a little tighter and the dialogue simplified in places, Coyle’s writing is undoubtedly original, compelling and entertaining. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Wine Pairing | Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the light-bodied red wines that are great for when you want berry notes and high acidity but also something that feels fresh.

My Pick: Tread Softly Pinot Noir 2020

Tread Softly is a brand of wine quickly making its mark on the Aussie wine industry, not least because it offers great tasting wine that’s vegan and low in alcohol – great for a play like A Grain of Sand, where you definitely need to keep a clear head! Its youthful, fruity flavours make it a fresh and vibrant choice that pairs nicely with a celebration of emerging talent.

Pick up a bottle from Dan Murphy’s for $20.

Tasting Notes

Aussie Season20 to 25 Jan, KXT Bakehouse + Queen Hades Productions
Ticket $$20-35
WriterDeclan Coyle
DirectorMargaret Thanos
Theatre Type & GenrePlay, law and justice, sci-fi
See it if you likestories that make you think, Black Mirror, audience participation
Other InfoThis production is part of Panimo Pandemonium, a festival of new and early emerging artists
Wine PairingPinot Noir
Criteria for Wine Pairinglight and fresh with berry and cherry notes