Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Sep 26 – 28, 2013
Writer: Becky Mode
Director: Alexander Butt
Actor: Nick Curnow
This work is a vehicle for showcasing the talents of actor Nick Curnow, and the incredible versatility of his voice. The main character is Sam, who works in a windowless basement office, but he speaks to forty different characters on phones and intercom, and all are played memorably by Curnow. The experience of watching this production feels as though at a magic show, where the audience is kept fascinated, amused and gobsmacked for the entire duration.
The actor switches characters at lightning speed, and we marvel at his ability in portraying such an astounding range of people, as well as his extraordinary memory, which in the absence of other actors, is the only thing he can rely on. Like an athlete on stage, we admire the skill, technique and sheer hard work he has obviously put in for this production.
A strong feature of the show is the relentless air of frenzy that permeates it. Most of the characters are on edge, upset, or nervous, and the sense of urgency and tension is created very well by the actor and his director Alexander Butt. There are, however, a few comic moments that seem to have been sacrificed for the sake of speed and excitement. The script’s humour might have been more fully realised if the intensity of the piece is allowed to slightly relax at times.
It is noteworthy that the sound cues in this staging are crucial to the plot, and they are beautifully executed. One could imagine the sound booth being as intense as the action on stage with the incessant rings, beeps and buzzes that need to be produced perfectly in order for the play to work. This is entertaining, impressive and exciting theatre, with an actor who is perfectly cast. The next performer who takes on the show faces an onerous task, as it is difficult to imagine anyone possibly doing a better job of it.