Melbourne Theatre Company’s second outing for 2024 looks good on paper, especially the return of Sheridan Harbridge, who was electric in the company’s 2023 production of Prima Facie. Unfortunately this recent play by well regarded Scottish playwright Zinnie Harris seems short on substance.

Jing-Xuan Chan and Sheridan Harbridge in Meet Me at Dawn. Photo © Pia Johnson

Premiering at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2017, Meet Me at Dawn sees partners Robyn and Helen on a remote and unfamiliar beach after a boating accident. At first disoriented, they soon try to work out where they are and how to get home. A woman we never see is strangely unhelpful, Robyn begins having troubling visions that can’t be attributed to concussion for long, and a creeping realisation leads to an existential crisis for Helen.

Reality is gradually dismantled in this two-hander that draws on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice’s journey in the Underworld (as the program reveals, so it’s no spoiler to say death is lurking). It becomes apparent that this is not a tale about literally being marooned, but rather love and grief.

Before eventually hitting its stride by committing to...