Wednesday, 2 April 2003

Open For Inspection by Andrea Tatman, April 3, 2003

Open For Inspection  by Andrea Tatman
La Mama, April 2 to 13, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Open for Inspection is a short comedy about two incompetent out of work actors (Andrea Tatman, Tom Bradley OK) who want to be TV show hosts.

Not just any TV show but one of those Do It Yourself home renovation type shows. Why, we ask. Therein lies the comic premise of this play.

There are two problems in Open for Inspection. The acting style is hysterical and speedy leaving little space for characterisation or physical comedy.  The other problem is that the dialogue is wordy and the jokes often laboured.

There are a couple of genuinely funny gags in this script. One is about Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. Another is about Desiree potatoes. Much of the remaining dialogue is overwritten. Gags take too long to reach their tag or the joke is reiterated so that it loses its punch.

There is no real characterisation. The characters are not clearly distinguished from each other. They speak the same language with a few variations. Jenny and Geoff seem to be complete idiots with few redeeming features which makes them hard to like. The frenetic pace of their speech and action leaves little space for any jokes to reach the audience.

The story begins with the moment they are informed that their rental flat is to be sold. Real estate agent, Peter,  (Brett Sleigh) announces that there will be three inspections per week. The pair attempt to sabotage the sale of the flat by childishly messing up the house each visit.

They devise a laughable plan to buy the place. Jenny bluffs her way into a nanny job to make money while Geoff messes up the house. Only when they discover that Jenny's employer (Penelope Bartlau) is part of the family that is producing a new DIY TV show, do they think they have a future.

The story is awkward and a bit silly. This play needs some overhauling. The final monologues are funny. The pair finally succumb to an actor's nightmare. Doing bad ads on television.

By Kate Herbert

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