Monday, 21 November 2011

Day One. A Hotel, Evening, Nov 18, 2011 **1/2

Day One. A Hotel, Evening 
By Joanna Murray-Smith
Produced by Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre
Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, November 16 to December 17, 2011
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert on Sunday November 20, 2011
Stars: **1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Nov 23, 2011
 Sarah Sutherland, John Adam, Dion Mills, Kate Cole in Day One. A Hotel, Evening by Joanna Murray-Smith,. Red Stitch
Complicated romantic entanglements provide rich hunting grounds for moviemakers and playwrights, including Shakespeare and Moliere. Joanna-Murray-Smith’s play, Day One. A Hotel, Evening, is a peculiar collision of French farce, screwball comedy and modern rom-coms (romantic-comedies).

However, there are no happy relationships, happy individuals, nor even a happy outcome for the three morally repugnant, dislikeable couples in Murray-Smith’s story.
Madeleine (Kate Cole) and Sam (Dion Mills), Stella (Sarah Sutherland) and Tom (John Adam), and Rose (Anna Samson) and Ray (Ryan Hayward) all live twisted, duplicitous love lives. Tom has an affair with both Madeleine, his best friend’s wife, and with Rose, who is, in turn, involved with Sam. Meanwhile, the two who aren’t cheating, Stella and Ray, plan their violent revenge. Got all that?

Despite some deficiencies in the script and direction, there are some fine performances from a skilful cast, with the standout being Sutherland who captures perfectly the farcical, broad, comic style in her portrayal of hysterical artist, Stella.

Murray-Smith’s writing delivers some smart, witty observations about inner-urban, moneyed couples, but the language is often convoluted, dense and difficult to follow, frequently sounding like commentary rather than theatrical dialogue.

Gary Abrahams’ direction exacerbates the problem with actors’ speeding through lengthy, verbose speeches as if they consumed too many espressos between the 20+-plus, short scenes.

The ethical ambiguity of this play is highlighted when Ray, a professional killer, utters the most intelligent and sincere observations about the nature and importance of love. The intention may be to amuse with satirical commentary on modern life but the production lacks any emotional engagement, which leaves us feeling disconnected and dissatisfied.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment