POSITIVELY LOW KEY; MATURE AND ENGAGING
By Philip Braithwaite
Directed by Gene Alexander
at BATS, Wellington
From 26 Aug 2008 to 30 Aug 2008
Reviewed by Lynn Freeman, 4 Sep 2008
originally published in Written for but not publiched in Capital Times
Braithwaite exposes his characters' trigger points not only to the audience but to those around them who are all too ready to push them. And those who seem most collected tend to be those with the most potential to explode.
Martin (played so genuinely by director Gene Alexander, who does a splendid job in both roles) is pushed beyond breaking point. It's love, of course, which derails our knight. He meets Stacey (a perfectly pitched performance by Hollie Weir) and while the world, and she herself, see her as flakey, to him she's enchanting.
Paralleling the Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere threesome, the young woman is torn between her past love - the definitely and scarily flaky and violent poet Kevin (played with unnerving skill by Oliver Cox) - and the new love. We all know which one she should choose, but this damsel is a mess, and she messes up the lives of those who care for her.
As a study of human psychology, it's fascinating. Even the motivation of Martin's boss Graham (performed with gusto by Barry Lakeman) is interesting, his attitude to women coloured by his own appetites, but he clearly cares for his gentle young worker.
As a play it's both dramatic and not over-hyped, in fact it's the opposite, positively low key, but tense when called for. I'd rate this as one of Braithwaite's most mature and engaging works, and that says a lot.
Excellent sound too by James Dunlop, complementing Daniel Williams' simple but effective set design.
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