Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 30 April 2015
The Flick, 1 May 2015 ****
By Annie Baker Red Stitch Actors Theatre, from 1 May 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: **** Full review also published online in Herald Sun on Mon May 4, 2015 & later in print. KH
Ngaire Dawn Fair & Kevin Hofbauer
Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Flick, Annie Baker’s cunningly wrought
dialogue crackles with wit and illuminates characters and relationships in a
surprising series of vignettes.
directed by Nadia Tass, The Flick is a fly-on-the-wall view of three cleaners
working in a shabby, old Massachusetts cinema that is one of the last to swap
its 35mm film projector for fully digital movies.
The entire 3
hours is set amongst the scruffy, empty seats of the fleapit movie house where
Sam (Ben Prendergast) trains new boy, Avery (Kevin Hofbauer), in the niceties
of sweeping up spilled popcorn, lolly wrappers and some scarily unidentifiable
and unsavoury jetsam.
(Ngaire Dawn Fair), the stroppy projectionist, ventures out from behind the
glass wall of the projection room only to taunt the two young men who are her
three are cool and remote in their communication, struggling to find common
ground and appearing to be two-dimensional stereotypes, even to each other.
Sam and Avery
discover a mutual love of movies and Sam challenges Avery with the movie trivia
game, Six Degrees of Separation, finding increasingly difficult tests of
Avery’s savant-like memory of movies.
The beauty of
Baker’s script is that, just when it seems to be going nowhere, like its
characters, the relationships intensify and Sam, Avery and Rose share their
dreams, secrets and wounds, becoming friends rather than merely co-workers.
explores the psychological and emotional layers of three ordinary people who
slowly reveal their hearts and minds, making themselves vulnerable, testing
loyalties and trying intimacy.
Of course, it
all goes pear-shaped around the same time as the cinema faces a change of
ownership and policy. Will the friendships go the same way as the 35mm
nuanced, sensitive and funny performances from her cast.
is sympathetic as Avery, the repressed, depressed and compulsive 20-year old
who is obsessed with 35mm film, and Hofbauer’s portrait of this ambitious,
isolated and angry young man is penetrating and detailed.
Ngaire Dawn Fair
is sassy and charismatic as 21-year old Rose, making her likeable despite her
aggressive manipulative, dishonest and manic behaviour.
Prendergast captures the resentful, directionless and lovelorn 35-year old, and
his face flickers with Sam’s inner turmoil and pervasive sadness.
Who knew that
popcorn, movies and cleaning could combine to create such a compelling recipe?
By Kate Herbert
Ngaire Dawn Fair & Ben Prendergast
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Dawn Fair, Dion Mills, Ben Prendergast & Kevin Hofbauer
Designer Shaun GurtonLighting Designer David ParkerAssistant
Lighting Designer Clare Springett Costume Designer Rebecca
DunnComposers + Sound Designers Russell Goldsmith & Daniel