Friday, 5 December 2003

Done Deal by Michele Davis, Red Stitch, Dec 4, 2003

Done Deal  by Michele Davis  
Red Stitch Actors Theatreuntil December 21, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Red Stitch Actors theatre is now producing Australian plays and Michele Davis' Done Deal is a strong start.

It has a contemporary story, interesting plot convolutions, detailed characters and fraught relationships.

Holt (Brett Cousins OK) answers the door to Carla (Olivia Connolly OK) who is euphemistically asking for a cocaine deal left for her by Holt's brother, Davey. (Daniel Frederiksen OK)

Holt, named after Harold Holt  by his delusional mother, makes a huge mistake with Carla that night. It involves sex and drugs and it happens on the evening before his fiancee, Laney,  (Kat Stewart OK) is to arrive.

What transpires is a funny but dramatic web of lies, deception and revelations between the characters.

Davis' writing is well observed and naturalistic.  Her characters are real and recognisable in the 20-something  corner of our urban society.

She ridicules gently the youthful obsessions with third world, drugs, paranoia about terrorism and making one's mark in the world.

The dialogue is believable and swift moving. Arguments between brothers, Holt and Davey are very real with their twisted sense of superiority over each other and their inability to relent or accept advice.

The short scenes cover only two days and action is concise and credible. The plot surprises us often and there is never a dull moment in this rapid play.

Director, Catherine Hill,  keeps the pace and the rhythm tight.

Cousins gives a delightful performance as Holt. He finds a wonderful balance of charm and deception.

As his brother, Frederiksen plays a complex palette of emotions. Davey is successful but a drug dealer, balanced but paying off a huge debt, concerned about his brother's pending marriage but in love with his brother's fiancee. It is a fine characterisation.

Stewart plays the only person not involved with drugs. She has just enough suspicion not to make Laney seem stupid and to maintain her dignity and the truth of her love for her sweetheart of nine years, Holt.

As Carla, Connolly is able to make real the desperate dope head who is also a successful real estate agent. She gives Carla a vulnerability that can easily turn to revenge.

Done Deal is an entertaining little play with commendable acting.

By Kate Herbert

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