Thursday, 23 August 2007

The Killing Fever Season, Aug 23, 2007

The Killing Fever Season
Four short plays by Lauren Bailey, Adam J.A.Cass & Anna Den Hartog
 La Mama, Aug 23 to Sept 9, 2007
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 23, 2007

The Killing Fever Season is four short plays of varying quality, the most successful being two ten minute two-handers by Adam J.A.Cass.

The evening, directed by Cass, opens with The Suspicious Package. The premise is simple but engaging; a man narrates his meeting with a woman. While standing under a sign that reads “No Suspicious Packages”, Tom (Paul Brown), who is holding a package wrapped in brown paper, waits at the train station for his friend Enid (Emma McDonald). He offers her the package as a gift but she is influenced by the ominous sign and refuses to take it. It is easy to make people afraid.

Another ten-minute piece, If She Isn’t Wearing Underwear, also by Cass, has a similar tone. A small man (Allan Domantay) sits next to a young woman (McDonald) in a train and wonders if she is wearing underwear. She reveals that she had a devastating night but details are sketchy.

The least effective play is Sisters Three by Anna Den Hartog. The play is about the fraught relationships between three sisters one of whom is murdered. Although the story has some promise as drama, the acting is uneven, the script over-written and the staging awkward.

Killing Fever, the longest play of the series written by Cass with Lauren Bailey, attempts to illuminate the experience of lost love through an allegorical narrative told by various female voices in poetic language. This play is at its best when it does not take itself seriously and shifts further into parody.

 The play is a meeting of a mythical and a contemporary story. But the story of broken hearts of the damsel in distress, Madeleine (Katie Astrinakis) and her white knight rescuer Jim Bangle (Sarah Hamilton) eventually collide with that of the modern lovers, Kristen (Lauren Bailey) and Stephan (Fionn Quinlan).

The mediaeval costumes and rather florid poetic language make the play very self-conscious and indulgent and the meaning opaque. Too often we are watching young women in gowns gliding and intoning sentimental poetic dialogue. The mediaeval characters are too obvious symbolic representations of love. Two, for example, are called Rien Coeur (Natasha Jacobs) and Belle Amore (Sarah Oldmeadow).

The actors work hard in this program but it is the smaller plays that are definitely the most effective.

By Kate Herbert

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