It’s three hours and thirty minutes long but who’s counting, as COUNTING & CRACKING delivers exhilarating theatre at cracking pace.

Length cannot wither this production, a co-show between Belvoir and Co-Curious, nor custom stale it’s infinite variety of drama, tragedy, comedy, political intrigue and cultural identity.

Spanning a half century of upheaval, relocation and reunion, COUNTING & CRACKING looks at how the big political picture impacts upon the lives of people, and how easily populist policy can degenerate into genocide, and the creation of refugees.

COUNTING & CRACKING bubbles from the turmoil that beset Sri Lanka when populist National politics set Sinhalese against Tamil, dividing a country, with a quotient finding themselves in Australia.

Mathematical allusion is manifest in S. Shackthidharan’s superb and epic script with a central character being both mathematician and politician: “ One is one. Two is one plus one is two. If one always has a unit answering to every unit of the other, then we pronounce both sides equal.”

The quality of equality is core to COUNTING & CRACKING, exhibited and espoused by an exhilarating international ensemble displaying thrilling synchronicity, with so called minor characters emanating the same detail and minutiae as that of what would be considered traditional leads. Indeed, peerless performances abound, without exception, in this robust and international cast.

There’s a high octane energy propelling this production, a cavalcade of colour and movement, emotion and intellect, a precise and precious pageant of a play, sometimes fuelled by fear and frenzy, but mostly fed by humour and hope.

COUNTING & CRACKING is an astonishing amalgamation of realism and the magic of pure theatricality with live music – the actors are accompanied by two musicians in a succession of percussion which adds timbre and texture to this elixir of joy – and traditional dance.

Sydney Town Hall has been transformed into a grand theatrical space by set and costume designer, Dale Ferguson, in which a sprawling saga of people and democracy displaced unfolds in a most spectacular way.

Like his production of Sami in Paradise last year, Eamon Flack’s direction is an object lesson in the organisation of nuanced chaos and the comedy of compassion and community – a universe of exuberance.

Enthralling, exciting, playful and thought provoking, COUNTING & CRACKING is a must see theatrical event.