Review: A Letter For Molly (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), May 9 – Jun 4, 2022
Playwright: Brittanie Shipway
Director: Ursula Yovich
Cast: Nazaree Dickerson, Joel Granger, Lisa Maza, Paula Nazarski, Brittanie Shipway
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
Renee has an accidental pregnancy, and because she lives in modern day Australia, obtaining a termination does not become too big an ordeal. The incident however, does prompt her to reflect on issues of motherhood, family and ancestry. Thinking about where one comes from, and what one is to leave behind, is an important piece in the process of maturation. In Brittanie Shipway’s A Letter for Molly, we watch Renee consider the possibility of motherhood in her future, by looking back at the three generations of women before, and all their bonds as mothers and daughters.

The play is a tenderly funny take on family dynamics. Renee’s Indigenous background is a very charming influence on the show’s style of dialogue. The women speak with extraordinary vibrancy, but deeper issues pertaining to our history of colonialism are only briefly hinted at. Those of us who do not share their heritage, can make our own interpretations, should we choose to do so, about the repercussions of being Black in Australia, simply by observing the lives of the women in A Letter for Molly. We gradually become aware that none of them owe us any expositions, about the trauma and marginalisation they may or may not experience. The fact that some have formed any such expectations of Black writers, is further evidence of how colonisation operates in our artistic landscape. A Letter for Molly is storytelling on one woman’s own terms, and that is always a powerful statement to make.

Director Ursula Yovich brings a light touch, to this story of motherhood through the generations. These are consequential matters that are being discussed, albeit treated very gently. Yovich’s approach is one that feels distinctly simple, but there is not a second that passes, without a sense of real emotional investment being dedicated, to the honouring of motherhood.

In the role of Renee, is playwright Shipway herself, who brings an immense sincerity to the stage. Lisa Maza is flawless with her comedy, and a wonderfully captivating presence as Mimi, the most senior of these women. Next in line is Darlene, played by Paula Nazarski who is as capable at delivering jokes, as she is at delivering breath-taking poignancy. Then comes Linda, with the exuberant Nazaree Dickerson offering gleeful joy to her audience, at every given opportunity. The hilarious Joel Granger plays a wide range of support roles, demonstrating admirable commitment to his craft, and an undeniable knack for humour of a more heightened kind.

The closeness between mothers and daughters, is portrayed with exceptional verisimilitude in A Letter for Molly. We believe all the relationships, and we understand precisely the choices Renee makes. In 2022 it is still refreshing to see a woman take control over her destiny, instead of relenting without questioning, to tradition and convention. No woman should need to subscribe to any notion or definition of what a valid woman is. We are infinitely diverse, and it is that freedom to be, that we should forever embrace.

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Review: Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Apr 29 – Jun 4, 2022
Playwrights: Genevieve Hegney, Catherine Moore
Director: Janine Watson
Cast: Genevieve Hegney, Catherine Moore
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
Felicity and Joanne have progressed from being business partners, to now being housemates. In Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified, the pair is back with more shenanigans, which is entirely unsurprising, as their first outing three years ago at the very same theatre, had proven an unequivocal blast. Creators Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore seem a bottomless pit of jokes, and in this sequel we again encounter a barrage of hearty laughter, about a fictitious temping agency, and the desperate ineptitude that sustains it.

Directed by Janine Watson, the show is relentlessly exuberant, and extremely light hearted. Its sense of humour comes from a profound understanding of grace; ambitious women are given little room to fail, but in Unqualified 2, we delight in the knowledge that none of us need to be superwomen, to feel deserving. Design aspects of the production are accomplished in unassuming ways, with video projections by Morgan Moroney playing an integral part, in taking us from one unlikely place to another, as the women try to earn a buck.

Watching Hegney and Moore on stage, is an absolute treat. Both performers have commanding presences and an unassailable confidence, that make us putty in their hands. The chemistry between these two powerhouses, is a rare gift, and a reminder that theatre at its best, is about an ephemeral magic that is often hard to pinpoint, and impossible to replicate.

It almost becomes irrelevant what the story is, that Hegney and Moore are telling, but it is certainly apt that the essence of what they present, is a statement about friendship. Dynamics between women often involve a sense of competition. We observe that spaces for women can be scarce, and are taught tacitly, that only one of us can rise, which means celebrating other women often becomes complicated and challenging. In Unqualified 2 however, we see that success only comes when both (Felicity and Joanne, as well as Hegney and Moore) are completely in support of each other. Moreover, one comes to the realisation, that a success that cannot be shared, is not success at all.

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Review: Nearer The Gods (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Mar 4 – Apr 23, 2022
Playwright: David Williamson
Director: Janine Watson
Cast: Violette Ayad, Jemwel Danao, Rowan Davie, Gareth Davies, Sean O’Shea, Sam O’Sullivan, Claudia Ware
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
It was the age of Enlightenment, and the beautiful mind of Isaac Newton held volumes of pivotal information, if only they could all be transformed into ink on paper. David Williamson’s Near the Gods pays particular attention to Newton’s seminal Principia, and the arduous three-year process by which the astronomer Edmund Halley had to coax the book into materiality. A somewhat quirky work of theatre, Williamson’s narrow focus on that singular historical incident, is unexpectedly idiosyncratic, although unlikely to be widely appealing.

The soporific subject matter of Near the Gods may not feel a natural fit for the modern stage, but director Janine Watson’s detailed and nuanced handling of the play, helps ensure that the audience is able to stay the course, whether or not we are ever able to really invest, in any part of the antiquated story.

Hugh O’Connor’s production design is extremely restrained, with the rejection of any faithful-to-period renderings, proving to be a wise and elegant decision. Lights by Matt Cox, along with Clare Hennessy’s sound design, too are conceived with an appropriate sense of minimalism, able to help move the narrative along effectively, with only slight embellishments introduced during opportune moments.

Actor Gareth Davies is amusing as the mad genius Newton, adept at bringing valuable liveliness to proceedings, even though the role is written with an excess of dry reverence. Halley is played with admirable commitment by a very passionate Rowan Davies, whose determination to entertain helps keep us engaged. Also noteworthy are Violette Ayad as Mary Halley, who offers flashes of genuine emotion in an otherwise distant and stolid affair, and Sean O’Shea’s flamboyance as King Charles II is an irresistibly funny element, if not always cohesive with the rest of the show.

It is arguable that creative people are only worth their salt, when something actually comes to be, as a result of their talent. Newton was at risk of having all the brilliance kept only on the inside of his mind. So many of us hold within ourselves, great insight and perspectives, that could benefit and inspire others, if only we knew how to make tangible, all that remains mere potential. Having written well over 50 plays, the writer Williamson is clearly not lacking in capacity for expression; if only this proficiency was available to more of us.

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Review: Killing Katie: Confessions of a Book Club (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Jan 9 – Feb 26, 2022
Playwright: Tracey Trinder
Director: Francesca Savige
Cast: Valerie Bader, Chantelle Jamieson, Bron Lim, Kate Raison, Georgina Symes
Images by Lisa Tomasetti

Theatre review
Katie is the new addition to a small book club, of which Robyn is the unofficial head. The two women are diametric opposites, with Katie being the vivacious and carefree one, and Robyn showing herself to be quite the stodgy, uptight character. In Killing Katie: Confessions of a Book Club, playwright Tracey Trinder does not quite pit women against each other, as much as she tries to portray the challenges in how we are able, or not able, to find inspiration in one another, especially when coming from a range of diverse experiences.

The vast difference in personalities gives rise to immediate conflict, which lends to great humour, but not all of Trinder’s dialogue is consistently witty. The production relies on an unrelenting effervescence, that director Francesca Savige so cleverly manufactures, to keep us in a cheery mood. Tobhiyah Stone Feller’s set and costume designs are suitably whimsical and colourful, proving effective in foregrounding amusing aspects of the story. Kelsey Lee’s lights, along with Daryl Wallis’ sound, provide valuable variation in tone between scenes to sustain our attention, in addition to the many subtle enhancements for when nuance in the text needs to be highlighted.

A wonderfully cohesive ensemble of five, comprising women across three generations, deliver a show that practises exactly what it preaches. The cast’s extraordinary camaraderie demonstrates the successes available to us, when our forces are joined in good faith. Chantelle Jamieson’s natural and confident charm, turns Katie’s grating tendencies into something altogether more appealing; we can see how the unrelenting exuberance is gnawing to Robyn, but Jamieson ensures that her character translates only with joy and glee, to her captive audience. The exasperating Robyn is played by a deeply committed Kate Raison, who brings maddening authenticity to a painful personality we have all encountered.

Bron Lim does marvellously as Linda, with a warm sincerity and an endlessly reliable instinct, that allow everything she offers, to feel believable and immediate. Georgina Symes is quirky as Sam, with an enjoyable intensity that keeps the stage abuzz with energy. Valerie Bader’s flawless comic timing makes unforgettable her turn as Angela, whose pointed quips are counted on, to provoke some of the show’s biggest laughs.

Plurality is surely better than singularity, in how we perceive our identities as women. The more we are able to be appreciative of other women’s idiosyncrasies, the more likely it is for us to be individually self-accepting. Invariably, we have all suffered from having been conditioned into believing that certain women are good and many, many others are not good enough. We are all trained to be convenient, and in turn, we routinely impose those same constrictions on everybody else. Most of those rules are in desperate need to be broken, and the permission to do so, can only come from within.

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Review: Honour (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Apr 23 – May 5, 2021
Playwright: Joanna Murray-Smith
Director: Kate Champion
Cast: Ayeesha Ash, Lucy Bell, Huw Higginson, Poppy Lynch
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
After 32 years of marriage, George, a renowned writer, suddenly decides that he is no longer in love with Honour. To be more precise, he simply no longer wants a life with her. Unsurprisingly, this change of heart is precipitated by the appearance of a younger woman, Claudia, who had been assigned to interview George for a publication. In Joanna Murray-Smith’s wonderfully contentious play Honour, the meanings of love, marriage and fidelity, are brought under scrutiny.

Some of our most fundamental values come into scintillating question by the work, as good art is want to do. Four characters, with differing perspectives, challenge the way we think about something that seems so often, to be prescribed and immovable. Additionally, a modern approach to the depiction of female desire, encourages us to examine romantic partnerships in renewed ways. Issues around duty and responsibility, as they apply to womanhood (who we care for, and who to care for us) further broaden the scope of how we regard these long-established notions of matrimony and family.

Although never too radical in temperament, Murray-Smith’s work bears intellectual dimensions that are deeply compelling. She presents her ideas in a way that feels accessible, but encourages us to go further with how we consider repercussions (for her characters, and for ourselves) as they appear through her narrative. Directed by Kate Champion, there is no shortage of richness in how the production discusses these topics. In fact, it often appears that philosophy comes before drama, in Champion’s presentation of Honour. The result is a rewarding experience of theatre, even if its dialogue can sometimes move quicker than our minds can keep up with.

Actor Lucy Bell invests heavily into emotional authenticity for her portrayal of Honour, the jilted wife. The human complexities in Honour’s reactions to her predicament are rendered soundly by Bell, who makes believable the extraordinarily cerebral way that this wronged woman processes her trauma. The other woman Claudia is compassionately interpreted by Ayeesha Ash, who prevents the audience from too easily dismissing the role for her problematic actions. It is in our understanding of Claudia, that we can attain a more sophisticated appreciation of the play’s ideas. George is made surprisingly sympathetic by Huw Higginson, a sensitive performer unjudgmental of the celebrity writer’s dubious choices. Honour and George’s daughter Sophie is played by an energetic Poppy Lynch, who succeeds at making substantial, a comparatively small role.

Production design by Simone Romaniuk is elegant and evocative, with a simplicity that complements the show’s performance style, focussing our attention closely on the intricacy of dynamics between characters. Damien Cooper’s lights too, offer generous enhancement to the tone of each scene, gracefully moving us from one mood to another. Music by Nate Edmondson adds a sense of flamboyance to the story’s inherent dramatics, effective at turning every seemingly mundane circumstance into something unequivocally theatrical.

We put so much time and effort into this thing called love, but rarely do we interrogate the impulses that lead us to it. In the play Honour, we can recognise that the experience of love, is influenced so much by factors that relate to social conditioning, or “the way we are brought up”. What feels natural and organic, is so heavily informed by beliefs that have been unconsciously, but actively, cultivated, yet to dare shift parameters around what is and is not permitted in how one chooses to experience love, is often met with disapproval. When George declares that he is no longer in love, in the old-fashioned way, with Honour, the overwhelming pang of betrayal is obvious to all. To want him to stay because of guilt, debt and responsibility however, is not what Honour deserves.

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Review: Crunch Time (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Feb 14 – Apr 9, 2020
Playwright: David Williamson
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Diane Craig, Megan Drury, Guy Edmonds, Matt Minto, Emma Palmer, John Wood
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
Although a grown man and father of two, Luke is unable to grow out of the shadow of Steve, his own father, whom he perceives to not have been a loving parent. Now that the old man is approaching end of life, things must come to a head or risk being unresolved for many years hereafter.

David Williamson’s Crunch Time is a family drama, but one that struggles to resonate, featuring a collection of unlikable characters in situations that are unconvincing and distant. We recognise the dynamics at play, for we all have experiences relating to problematic kinship, but few of its ingredients feel authentic, and meaningful emotional investment into any part of the story proves elusive.

Mark Kilmurry’s direction capitalises on comical aspects of the writing, always taking care that the humour is conveyed with clarity. Actor Guy Edmonds is effortlessly funny as Luke, and a charming presence, even though a strange casting choice for an entirely charmless role. Daddy Steve is played by an elegant John Wood, whose restrained approach tends to downplay tensions of the piece.

Other parts in Crunch Time are performed well, despite their unfortunate lack of complexity. Matt Minto is appropriately comical as favourite son Jimmy, and Diane Craig brings a degree of self-respect to Helen, the strangely overlooked mother who does little more than orbit around the disputes within her household. Daughters-in-law are played by Megan Drury and Emma Palmer, who retain some integrity for a couple of women burdened by some shockingly unimaginative dialogue.

It is curious that Steve’s family does little to question his decisions pertaining to euthanasia, but Crunch Time is a rare example of how the matter of death, can be dealt with in a less than tragic fashion. Traditionally, we have insisted that people bear with terminal illnesses, no matter how painful and dehumanising. For years, we have debated as a community on how dying can be made dignified, but that journey to legislative change has been at snail pace. It is hard to understand that anyone who has witnessed unimaginable suffering on deathbeds would argue against assisted suicide, but our conservative culture is determined as ever, to keep us in the dark ages.

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Review: Black Cockatoo (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Jan 4 – Feb 8, 2020 | Riverside Theatres (Parramatta NSW), Feb 18 – 22, 2020
Playwright: Geoffrey Atherden
Director: Wesley Enoch
Cast: Joseph Althouse, Luke Carroll, Chenoa Deemal, Aaron McGrath, Colin Smith, Dubs Yunupingu
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
When Johnny ‘Unaarrimin’ Mullagh went to England in 1868 as part of Australia’s ‘First XI’, he probably never expected to become our first international cricket star. A century and a half later, his descendants probably never expected that the legend would today be so easily forgotten. Black Cockatoo by Geoffrey Atherden reintroduces the historical figure as a true Indigenous trailblazer, an Aboriginal example of black excellence that the white patriarchy of our sporting arenas seems so determined to wipe away from memory. The play has a tendency to feel overly wholesome, as though sanitised for public consumption, but its importance as cultural emblem cannot be understated.

Directed by Wesley Enoch, the show is a sincere and tender proclamation, paying tribute to Indigenous identities past and present. The complexity of black experiences as colonised peoples, is meaningfully, albeit politely, portrayed in Black Cockatoo. We see our protagonist in a state of conflict, able to recognise his privilege as star on the field, but never ignorant of injustices that befall himself and those he considers his community.

Set design by Richard Roberts establishes elegance for the production’s overall visual aesthetic, but requires greater versatility to help us imagine dramatic shifts in time and place. Lights by Trent Suidgeest and music by Steve Francis are sensitively rendered, both proving effective in conveying poignancy for the piece.

Actor Aaron McGrath is full of charm as Mullagh, dignified and beautifully nuanced in his depiction of a true blue hero. Black Cockatoo‘s narrative does not offer very much that is emotional or surprising, but McGrath makes us fall for the central character effortlessly. In the role of Lady Bardwell is the noteworthy Chenoa Deemal, who brings to the stage an august presence. Also impressive is Colin Smith as coach of the team, remarkably convincing as an ethically dubious Charles Lawrence.

Our Indigenous continue to have to navigate the absurdity of being seen as exotic on their own land. The ‘First XI’ went to England to play cricket, but often found themselves perceived as a circus act, a curiosity that robbed them of their humanity, a persisting strategy that provides legitimacy to mistreatment at the hands of colonisers. We need to hear the voices of minorities, because an understanding of their autonomy is fundamental to the betterment of all our lives. We no longer want our stories told by others. We want the right to talk about ourselves, whether or not the others are willing to listen.

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Review: The Odd Couple (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Nov 22 – Dec 29, 2019
Playwright: Neil Simon
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Laurence Coy, Katie Fitchett, Robert Jago, James Lugton, Brian Meegan, Nicholas Papademetriou, Olivia Pigeot, Steve Rodgers
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review
Felix has left his wife, and is moving in with Oscar who is himself also a divorcee. The two are good friends, but also vastly different personalities, which means that their newly single lives are proving to be less harmonious than either had hoped for. Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is over half a century old, but much of the comedy, largely based on laddish antics, still works. It would appear that the man-child trope still resonates, in fact its interest in the immature adult is probably more pertinent in our age of high tech comfort and reduced responsibilities. A pervasive and perpetual state of arrested development seems to be taking hold, and the farcical childishness of characters in Simon’s play becomes surprisingly relevant.

Energetic and entertaining, Mark Kilmurry’s crowd pleasing direction revives the work for an audience hankering for 1960s American nostalgia. Costumes and a set by designer Hugh O’Connor are effective contributions to the overall vibrancy of the production, along with Christopher Page’s lights maintaining a sense of joviality for the staging.

Actor Steve Rodgers is endearing as the fun-loving easy-going Oscar, able to turn the slob into someone disarmingly likeable. Felix the neat freak is played by Brian Meegan, who demonstrates unexpected range for the role, delivering charming humour alongside the portrayal of someone struggling with the difficulties of divorce. Stage chemistry is enjoyable, not just between the two, but also for all other members of cast. The group of eight embodies a cohesiveness that ensures solid comic timing from start to end, with Katie Fitchett and Olivia Pigeot particularly remarkable, in their ability to manufacture hilarity for scenes involving a couple of very poorly written female characters.

The success of relationships should be judged by their quality, and not in accordance with duration, yet we obsess over the number of years that people stay together, ignoring all the times those individuals may be suffering inside unhappy unions. Divorces are celebratory occasions, as they mark an end to one’s hardship, allowing them to begin again and find ways to welcome better days, that may have been elusive for considerable lengths of time. Narratives determine so much of our behaviour and emotions. If we know to make better sense of our stories, how we feel about our lives can be correspondingly improved.

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Review: Baby Doll (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Oct 18 – Nov 16, 2019
Playwright: Tennessee Williams (adapted by Pierre Laville, Emily Mann)
Director: Shaun Rennie
Cast: Kate Cheel, Maggie Dence, Socratis Otto, Jamie Oxenbould
Images by Prudence Upton
Theatre review
A young woman finally has to consummate her marriage, on her twentieth birthday, after two years of being with a much older husband. On the eve of that fateful night however, a tall, dark and handsome stranger appears, as though poised to rescue the girl from the event she has long dreaded. Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll takes place in Mississippi Delta, at a time when women, even those who were young, white and beautiful, had few rights and opportunities to speak of. We observe the restrictive circumstances faced by the protagonist, and how her choices are limited to just two men, neither of whom have her best interests at heart, but in this adaptation by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann, we are able to see her desires and fortitude come to the fore, and it becomes evident that the girl is not giving up without a fight.

Directed by Shaun Rennie, the scintillating production grips us, not only with the exciting paradigm shifts deliberately introduced to the old story, but also with its exhaustive efforts at imbuing every theatrical moment with a rich sensuality, able to have us captivated on levels beyond character and narrative. Lights by Verity Hampson convey an intense sexuality, oppressed yet untameable, a wild undercurrent emerging from all sides of this lustful triangle. Sound and music by Nate Edmondson moves effortlessly from episodes of rhapsodic extravagance, to sequences filled with hushed precarity. We always know what the people on stage are thinking and feeling, even if their words are designed to disguise the truth.

Actor Kate Cheel plays the girl named Baby Doll, with a delicious intellectual aplomb that powerfully resists the relentless sexual objectification imposed upon her from all directions. The character we see is libidinous, seductive and strategic, courageously using everything she owns to make the best of a terrible situation. The shrewd defiance being portrayed by Cheel elevates the entire exercise, for a surprisingly modern take of an otherwise outdated Lolita tale.

The repellent husband Archie Lee is depicted in full bigoted glory, by an exuberant Jamie Oxenbould, who keeps us engaged by his bold embodiment of the deplorable antebellum hangover. Stoking the fire as Silva Vacarro, is Socratis Otto who manipulates levels of authenticity for a deceptive type who seems only to have ulterior motives. Otto makes every line of dialogue believable and enthralling, so that we may follow Baby Doll as she falls hopelessly under his spell. Maggie Dence is memorable in the subsidiary role of Aunt Rose, absolutely charming and humorous at each appearance.

There is little Baby Doll could do to make things better for herself, but she pulls out all the stops. Women today do not experience the same level of subjugation, but we certainly do have to rely on ingenuity and resourcefulness, to navigate a world that continues to be unjust and dangerous. Most of us can now walk away from failed marriages, but few of us can turn our backs on a culture determined to limit our identities, and an economy built on our servitude. Our survival requires that we participate within structures that routinely place us at a disadvantage. We may feel duplicitous and hypocritical, when we bite the hand that feeds, but there is no escaping that which we wish to demolish. As demonstrated in Baby Doll, we can never be prevented from being instigators for change, no matter how small a part we play in whatever revolution that may be brewing.

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Review: Fully Committed (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Oct 11 – Nov 16, 2019
Playwright: Becky Mode
Director: Kate Champion
Cast: Contessa Treffone
Images by Prudence Upton
Theatre review
Sam is a struggling actor, working full-time as a reservations clerk at one of Sydney’s swankiest restaurants. It is a difficult job, not only because the joint seems to be at perpetual full capacity, but also due to some extraordinarily difficult personalities, who insist on talking to Sam with no regard at all for any common courtesy.

Becky Mode’s Fully Committed is about life at the bottom rung of a revered institution, where labour is cheap and human dignity is non-existent. It is an entertaining work, that deals with the class divide in a humorous, if slightly disillusioned way. Instead of questioning Sam’s compliance, the play is concerned only with how and when she is going to be able to move up the social order. Fully Committed is about our inevitable participation in a broken economic system, reflecting the acceptance of something that causes as many problems as it solves, and our general sense of impotence in the face of all its failings.

Under Kate Champion’s direction and Jane Fitzgerald’s dramaturgy, Sam’s story of disadvantage is told with unexpected poignancy. In Champion’s efforts to elevate the writing beyond its tendency for surface comedy however, the show lacks the manic energy that could have us further invested. The decision to have a conventional switchboard stylistically transformed into thirty separate telephones, makes for a powerful visual (set design by Anna Tregloan), but often requires the performer of this one-woman piece to delay her delivery of lines.

Contessa Treffone plays Sam, and all the other, more than thirty, characters on the other end of the line, each of them thoughtfully crafted, and vividly depicted. Treffone makes the extremely demanding work look a walk in the park, for a performance remarkable in its elegance and clarity. Although effortlessly comical, the performer can at times feel insufficiently confident, for a script that seems naturally inclined to be madcap and quite hammy in tone. Nevertheless, the production remains tremendously enjoyable, and Treffone’s ability to hold us captive for the entire duration is indeed commendable.

Sam finds herself in an awful situation, but blames no one for her predicament. She has bought into the myth of capitalism, of hard work, of upward mobility, and convinces herself that literally mopping up other people’s shit, is but par for the course, if she is determined to put everything into making her dreams come true. Becky Mode’s play is approaching twenty years old, and it is tempting to now think of the new generation, as young people who know better.

Maybe when we criticise them for being entitled, spoilt and delicate, we neglect to recognise the unjust, unreasonable and sometimes inhumane conditions we have come to accept of our lives. For many years we believed that the system we build, would reward us with fairness, but time has revealed many fallacies. No wonder then, that many of Sam’s age are now turning their backs, and refusing to play by rules that make little sense.

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