If the walls could talk we would hear things that we are not meant to, and that is the premise of this quirky new play by playwright Rita Papillo.
And in this play the walls really do talk and listen and make comments… lots of comments.
A fragile masseur deals with her client’s aches and pains, but more so hears their problems. She is badly in need of some understanding herself, and somehow uses her massage sessions to deal with her own pain of being dumped by her man not long before.
We meet a depressed guy caught up in current confusion around the women in his life, a single Mum artist – stressed to the max, and a counsellor high on her passionate new affair. And also with us for the entire show are two wall characters – him and her, dressed the same as the wall paper and merging in and out of being at one with the wall, but mostly moving around the room mocking and making comments on the action from an outside perspective.
It’s a tale
of lies and deceit, of how girls like to steal their best friend’s men, and how the guy seems to get them all, no matter how unappealing he may be.
The story sees them all much too coincidentally connected and ending in chaos, with revelations of who is seeing who and who said what and when. It’s a sometimes fun idea that provides a few laughs and says something about a man’s wandering eye and scheming single women looking for love.
In theatre every character must count, and I must admit that I had trouble working out why the wall characters were there and featured so prominently. Apart from mixing things up in the end so that everyone arrives at the same time they spend most of the play only commenting – and that’s a hard call for actors or audience and in time detracts from the drama.
Albeit – all of the actors do an excellent job with the material that they have, particularly Robyn Gough as the middle-aged masseur and Lucy Slattery as the artist-client; and director, Lisa Waite moves them around and handles the situations in just the right way.
A slick purposeful set by Tammy Boden is a highlight of this show for me and spot on lighting by Stephen Dean adds much texture.
This experimental new play which is still in need of development fits well into The Bakehouse
Theatre’s excellent Black Box program – which is providing both a much-needed home for new Australian works and associated important opportunities for local theatre artists.