Red Stitch Actors Theatre, MelbourneRed Stitch Friday 23 July 2010 Melissa Bubnic joined Red Stitch as Writer in Residence at Red Stitch in 2009 and Stop. Rewind has spent 18 months in development with the company’s Writers Program.
With a structure that lets the characters say what they wish they said, but rewind back to what they actually said, Stop. Rewind can’t fail to strike a familiar chord. I’m glad that other people spend much of their time re-running their encounters with better dialogue.
Bubnic’s characters work in the public service with its long-termers, team meetings, bad cakes and rooms filled with people playing on Facebook, emailing gossip or trying to get a promotion by doing extra work. When a colleague gets cancer, each is faced with the reality of their situation and contemplates the possibility of change.
And change is rare in an office staffed with uninspiring, unfulfilled, boring sods. And this is where I has trouble with Stop. Rewind. Stories about uninspiring, unfulfilled, boring sods are…well… We have real life to watch boring people. For all it’s recognisable “we all bet bored/depressed” discussions, it felt too much like a work about “them” rather than a reflection of “us”.
However, I almost disregarded my own feelings, because Bubnic brings her characters to a beautiful ending of hope and perfect oddness that made all previous quibbles seem irrelevant and the Red Stitch cast and creative team created a strangely enchanting world.
Peter Mumford has, again, devised the most astonishingly simple and effective design in the tiny Red Stitch space and the expectation that the post-it’s would come down added a subtle tension to the night. Anne Browning’s lively direction captures the quirks and humanity of these people and this company continue to let actors do what they do best. Olga Makeeva, Andrea Swift, James Taylor, Giordano Gangl and Ian Rooney all bring so much more than the script to the stage and Ella Caldwell and Tim Potter are going to be people we have to pay a lot of money to see in the future.
Stop. Rewind isn’t the best thing I’ve seen at Red Stitch, but it’s still far more engaging and interesting than some of the more expensive shows on in town. And you can still buy a half-year subscription to all of Season 2, which starts with Stop. Rewind.
Until 21 August 2010 Bookings: www.redstitch.net