Thursday, 9 June 2005

Lucky by Toby Schmitz, June 9, 2005

Lucky by Toby Schmitz
La Mama  June 9 to 26, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Toby Schmitz's play, Lucky, is an anti-hero's journey. We travel through a day and a night with the luckless protagonist as he wrestles with his grand dilemma.

Lucky (Simon Kearney) stole $12,000 from his petty crim boss, Pauly (Pier Carthew) who runs a casino called Scalia.

We do no know why Lucky stole the money nor where it has gone but he has 24 hours to provide the cash or another of his limbs will be broken by Muzzo, (Glen Hancox) Pauly's muscle.

As Lucky scrambles to beg, borrow or steal the cash, he stumbles through the filthy underbelly of Sydney, through streets, parks, taxi ranks and trains, bars and clubs.

 He encounters drunks, addicts, madmen, criminals, whores, rock stars, joggers and even that annoying guy who does your windscreen at intersections.

Director, Emma Valente, uses a grotesque style to illuminate the down beat urban landscape and scruffy characters.

This is a difficult play to stage as it has multiple entrances and exits and costume changes. Valente attempts to solve this problem by placing the costume rack on stage so actors can grab outfits as they rush by it.

Schmitz's script feels like a play written by an observer of the criminal scene it portrays rather than a participant.

It seems over-written and, at times, indulgent.  The dialogue often rambles and characters' eccentricities are used for laughs rather than to reveal their psyches.

The nine performers work hard for two hours but the outcome has mixed success.

 One inspired element is Kate Davis's magical design comprising countless clock faces and mathematical symbols scrawled on tiny blackboards.

Another is the upstage glass door that creates a room outside the walls of La Mama.

As Lucky. Kearney is a low-key foil to the other loonies he encounters. He appropriately underplays Lucky's demented obsession with numbers and The Twist and his search for cash and his girlfriend (May Helen Pirola).

Syd Brisbane is a strong presence as the old man who introduces the play with a poetic prologue and each scene with a chalk board title.

The show is about 30 minutes too long. Chunks of dialogue need cutting and the scene changes and the pacing of some scenes need tightening. There is too much shouting in place of passion, by many of the actors.

By Kate Herbert

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