The Interview / Agape's Excess - Review

This double bill, by Robert Hamilton, explored love, and the extremes that people were prepared to go to be loved.

The first play however, Agape's Excess, proved to be a tedious disappointment. It explored how far someone had to go to prove their love – in the first scene it was to the point of death for one person. The next scene featured a couple, sat at their computers, corresponding on line. In the background were a "virtual" couple and between the four of them the same dialogue from the first scene was repeated. In this scene love was not terminated by death but by abandonment when one partner closed down her computer.

The dialogue which started as playful lover's talk, quickly turned into an irritating mantra.

As an acting exercise it produced some fine performances but as a play it failed to satisfy. It was sad that the quality of the acting was not matched by the writing.

Luckily the second play, The Interview, rescued the evening.

When successful novelist, Desiree Martin, encounters a writer's block she interviews Rosalind Seeley, a "resting" actress, with a view to using her as a creative flush.

By participating in a series of improvisations it is hoped that the creative juices will flow again.

That was the opening scenario that playwright, Robert Hamilton, presented. It soon became apparent that there was a much darker and sinister sub plot.

Games, both mind and physical, are played out as the plot twists and turns. The writing shifted easily between black comedy, metaphysical debate and sexual violence climaxing in a splendid piece of Grand Guignol theatre.

Jenny Bridges, as Rosalind, managed well the transition from assured interviewee to terrified victim. But it was Jet Tattersall, as the deranged Desiree, that gave the performance of the evening. She was magnificent, never letting the character's paranoia descend into ludicrous farce.

In addition to giving direction that served the play exceeding well, Helen Caton, also organised the playwriting workshop with Robert Hamilton that followed the end of the run.

 

Barrie Jerram

1 April 2007