BATS Theatre, Wellington

18/02/2015 - 21/02/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

LOVE. GREED. BETRAYAL.  What would you risk to win $10,000?

Jay and Sarah fight for their survival in the hopes of winning the grand prize, but a mysterious figure has other plans.  The seconds tick by and with only 60 minutes left on the clock, who will be victorious?

Venue: BATS Theatre
18-22 Feb 2015 at 8.30pm

Duration: 75 mins

Stage Manager: Rose Mfk 

Theatre ,

1hr 15 mins (no interval)

Interesting idea not fully realised

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 23rd Feb 2015

A sort of boys own action movie onstage, Thr3e by Jett Ranchhod it involves a couple – Jay (Keeghan McGarry) and Sarah (Lindsy Astarita) – gaming on their computer.  There is also another flat mate Alex (Jett Ranchhod) that Sarah keeps having illicit conversations with.

The game is The Golden Idols of Spada and having found 2 of the idols they have 60 minutes to find the third and win $10,000 but are being thwarted in their attempts by a mysterious figure called The Count.

There is also some much needed light relief added by two mates who come by for a beer, played by Hugo Randall and Manoa Teaiwa

How these games are played out is the climax of the play and the juxtaposition of the computer game with the games the three flat mates are playing with each other is an interesting concept.

And although the computer game is played out very realistically with lighting and smoke, so much so that on opening nights the fire alarms were set off in the theatre and the show stopped for 10 minutes while the audience were evacuated, the darkness of these scenes made it difficult to figure out what was going on. This coupled with a lack of character development and the laid back style of presentation meant that an interesting idea was never properly realised.


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Adventurous but loses its way

Review by Lena Fransham 19th Feb 2015

Thr3e’s creators, Jett Ranchhod and Keeghan McGarry, state that their vision was to create a story around three characters in real time. It’s a bold experiment that I think could evolve in exciting ways through continued revision and adaptation. This incarnation has strong elements but struggles to sustain audience engagement with the real-time format.

The dark and urgent initial scene inducts us into the digital world of an online X-box game. It’s a punchy start – literally; lots of well-choreographed fighting and gunplay, neatly evocative of game-style combat, along with effective use of video as a lead-in to the game.

Jay (McGarry) and Sarah (Lindsy Astarita) creep with their nerf guns through a room full of hidden dangers, encountering and dispatching faceless assailants en route to the prize. If they can find all three of the ‘idols’ in the game within 48 hours, the couple stand to win $10,000. But they are sabotaged within the game by a mysterious online opponent, ‘The Count’ (Ranchodd), and fail to attain their goal.

Returning to their real-world living room, the couple discusses the fact that they have to start the game again, and chat with their flatmate Alex about their strategies to outwit their opponent. As the real-time clock counts down the last minutes of the challenge, the couple prepare to re-enter the game both vowing (so it seems) to beat The Count to the prize. However, treacherous undercurrents are at work. 

The premise is simple but strong, evidently something of an allegory to The Count of Monte Christo’s story of greed, duplicity and exploitation of human weaknesses. I think more detailed focus on the relationships between the three characters would deepen the audience’s empathy for the unfolding of this story. I find it hard to empathise with even the least devious of the characters; they are not quite believable in relationship with each other. In a sense they evoke avatars in an X-box game, useful frames on which to hang the action, a parallel which highlights the game-like nature of their ‘real’ interactions with each other.  

The main problem is the collapse of the plot in the latter part of the play. I am sure this time could have been used to deepen understanding of character motivation or to further explore the themes so strongly established at the beginning. But all dramatic tension dissolves with an extended period of what seems like pointless improvised banter between Jay and his friends (Hugo Randall and Manoa Teaiwa) – although it takes talent to sustain this as engagingly as the actors manage to – interspersed with cuts to an unconvincing, repetitive exchange between Sarah and Alex, all of which seems to perform no service to the plot except to delay its development. It’s a frustrating let-down after the dynamism of some of the initial scenes.  

This basis of the production is a vision worth pursuing. The real-time approach would be difficult to nail effectively, but I imagine has the potential for brilliance when the balance is right. I look forward to further adventurous projects from Mirrored Faces Productions.


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