By Luke Dodge
I was immediately struck with the time and energy which went into the creation of the set. Production value is above and beyond anything else I’ve seen. Even the program is printed on weighted paper and laid out with professional care.
The stage is split between a forest of trees and a restaurant with a large wooden table surrounded by stools. Glassware sits atop a bar and a man lays unconscious on the table. In a corner apart from both sits an old television playing static. The play begins with a man in a tacky suit and sunglasses singing to live jazz. That’s right, the music of the entire production is performed live by it’s composer Tim Harte.
Stewart (Michael Doyle) wakes across the table from Kit (Quenton Noble), possibly in a dream.
Michael bestows a frantic energy onto his character as if he were about to crack in two. Quenton’s dark, measured speech and animal-like movements give him the feel of a creature of fairie. Ambiguous at best, these characters add a layer of intrigue and mystery.
June (Suzanne Bailey) is a crusty old woman with a penchant for drinking. She acts tough, but maybe there’s a heart underneath the hard exterior. Or maybe she doesn’t give a damn either. Marcus (Sean Russell) and Paine (Chista James) are a pair of sarcastic criminals working for June. Sean and Christa posses a fun dynamic as they play off each other, syncing to the point where you couldn’t imagine one without the other.
George (Kate Chan) arrives at June’s bar looking for a room, claiming to be on business, mapping the town as a cartographer when she’s secretly investigating Stewart’s disappearance. Kate gives her character the feel of a classic private investigator in line with the genre, despite being a typically male role which is a refreshing change of pace.
Relatively short scenes are interspersed with vignettes from an increasingly involved television (Njeri Mungai). Yes, you read correctly, the television is a major character. Stilted, often jagged edges of conversation provided by Njeri slowly peel the layers back as more and more of the big picture is revealed.
Can George uncover the truth while avoiding being caught in the same web? Supernatural pulp noir through and through; intriguing to the fullest extent. An ambiguous ending which leaves you salivating for answers.