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Three Stars
Published on Friday, 20 May 2011

2 stars

Brighton Media Centre (venue website)
17-21 May, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Catherine Meek

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.

John Moore describes his play as “fresh, dark, (hopefully) hilarious, talented, disturbing”. Its billed theme, a comedian who receives average reviews and seeks revenge on those rating him, has potential to be all of the above. Regrettably the play features sexism, workplace harassment, and a stereotypical jack-the-lad character passing on the questionable wisdom of his chat-up patter to his friend, who is inexperienced with girls.

However you look at it, the overt discrimination of PA Maria by office boys Aaron and Dominic just isn’t funny. In the real world, it’s Maria who might be laughing – all the way to the bank after winning an employment claim.

It’s the actors who earn this play whatever credit it receives, but there’s nothing Sam Parlett as Dominic and the rest of the cast can do to make up for the script. When “comedian” Lesley Carragher turns up with his gun, the action – resulting in a shooting – is completely unconvincing. And whilst Maria’s predicament might well make her consider hooking up with the killer as his accomplice, it is unlikely that someone so unresponsive to being undermined would transform into someone poised for a rampage of murder.

Carragher is played as bland and wooden; if the character is to succeed at all, he needs to be way more charismatic. As it is, it is difficult to imagine he is a comedian at all, never mind one that gets three stars for his performances.

Arielle-Grieco cleverly makes the most of an opportunity to show off her comedic skill to full effect when, as a famous critic, she mimes the private moments of preparation leading up to an interview. She moves her papers about the desk, and crosses and uncrosses her legs, with the audience privy to her exaggerated fidgeting as though flies on the wall. It’s altogether the most memorable bit of the performance. Her interview of a PA and conversation with Carragher – who intends to shoot her – are less amusing, but the script gets in the way here and she is less able to rely on her own strengths.

This is not an example of the best of Sussex Drama Society’s repertoire.

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