THEATRE REVIEW by Meredith Fuller
‘UNSOLICITED MALE’ by Ron Elisha
Q44Theatre Company’s brilliant season of the world premiere of this clever play runs until 7 October at the Abbotsford Convent. Directed by international stage & screen doyenne Suzanne Heywood. Starring Kim Valentine, Russell Fletcher, Gabriella Rose-Carter, Liam Seymour, and William Atkinson.
This timely play explores the dynamics of power and control between men and women in the workplace by looking at the issue of consent between the boss and a staff member. By using a familiar scenario with ordinary people, we are provoked and confronted by myriad issues surrounding the #metoo campaign.
A mirror is held up for us to grasp what ails our social structures and why we must address unconscious bias. By using humour and visceral shock, we are compelled to challenge our assumptions and perceptions about being in relationship.
Suzanne Heywood’s expert direction ensured a perfectly balanced, tight ensemble and she extracted the best from each member. Her direction was seamless and riveting, as she deftly choreographed four actors over every centimetre of the stage for most of the 1.5 hours. The fifth actor had a fun cameo as the snooty waiter I am sure we have all encountered in restaurants. Performed in the round, the actors stage managed scene changes, and wardrobe, props, and eating of food on stage was faultless.
As Wendy the receptionist, Kim Valentine was suitably brittle and contained for the first half, and then slid into palpable distress towards the end.
As Zeke, Russell Fletcher was superb as the shambolic boss. Aware of his comedic skill, I was struck by his impressive dramatic moments; his shards of vulnerable disintegration were magnificent.
Gabriella Rose-Carter was stellar in her captivating performance as Wendy’s sister, Chelsea.
As the life coach Noah, Liam Seymour was hilarious as he channelled the archetype with verisimilitude.
I encourage you to attend this play, to witness theatre at its’ best. There is much to enjoy, learn, and experience. We were so moved at the play’s finish, we couldn’t leave our seats for several minutes.
Q44 says that their goal is to produce plays of artistic integrity, and to present them with with skill, artistry and humanity. In my opinion, they nailed it tonight.
Gabriella Rose-Carter, Artistic Director and Founder of Q44 Theatre Company has as a vast reputation as acting teacher and coach; with Suzanne Heywood, Associate Artistic Director, international dialogue/dialect and acting coach, these auteurs model excellence.
26 September – 7 October 8pm