Thursday, 23 October 2003

Push Up, Red Stitch, Oct 23, 2003

 Push Up by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Red Stitch Actors Theatre  
 Rear 2 Chapel St., St. Kilda, Oct (?) to Nov 9, 2003

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The corporate world is a dangerous, dog eat dog environment.

Roland Schimmelpfennig's  play, Push Up, peers in through the double-glazed windows of a corporation to view the ruthless ambition and lack of humanity that rules that high rise world. Schimmelpfennig is a German writer whose plays have successful seasons in the UK.

Director, Kaarin Fairfax,  keeps the staging simple - just a large desk and chairs. This sparseness allows the focus to remain on the characters and their competitive sparring.

The piece falls into three scenes of about thirty minutes. In each, two characters from the company vie for control and in each, one loses his or her job. It is cut- throat.

Schimmelpfennig highlights how similar these people are by giving them fragments of common dialogue. Their thoughts and dreams, fears and passions are often identical. The outcomes are not.

The first scene see Sabine,  (Ella Caldwell) a young, smart, upwardly mobile executive, confronting the Managing Director, Angelika  (Kate Cole) and demanding a major management position.

She loses that battle of wits and status.

Part two is a sexually charged scene in which another equally ambitions woman, Patrizia (Kat Stewart) presents her new company promotional ad to the boss's right hand man, Robert  (Vincent Miller)

This time, he loses.

The final scene is perhaps the most poignant. A sixty-something executive, Hans, (Peter Hosking)  believes he will win the plum job of running the Delhi office.  his competitor is his younger subordinate, Heinrich.  (David Whiteley)

You guessed it. The older man loses.

It is gladiatorial battles fought in the glittering offices of a corporate world that does not value honesty, temperance, humility or love.

The performances are all very strong with particularly compelling work from Kat Stewart as the anxious and sexy Patrizia and Hosking as the over-confident older executive, Hans.

Red Stitch continue to produce interesting new plays with a constantly developing cast of local actors. Push Up is worth seeing.

By Kate Herbert

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