One God, Two Salesmen & Three Humans. Opiate Productions at The Street Theatre Studio,June 20-29, 2002.
Such a rebellious name for such a tame little group of amateur thespians. Opiate - another new theatre group which Canberra seems to spawn every week or two - claim that in November they will put on The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. Well, they are going to need a lot more theatrical guts and basic skills by then than they presented last Thursday.
The show is in a cabaret format with pre-recorded music (Dave Brubeck, for some odd reason) in between items. There were 3 short plays - Business Lunch by Sean Slater, We Can Get Them For You Wholesale by Neil Gaiman and Man & God, Having a Few Beers & Talking Things Over by Jeffery Scott. I'm guessing that they are all British undergraduate revue items, played here quite nicely. Very pleasantly, in fact. So agreeably indeed that I would like to coin the term Theatre of Innocence for this production.
Though Wholesale was quite a clever script, following the logic of larger sales being cheaper per unit, applied by a company offering to dispose of mammals, including people (finally costing nothing per unit to kill all the world's population), overall rather than an opiate night much of it was soporific. Even live music filling a 30 minute interval in a 90 minute show, quite tunefully done by a group of young men currently called King Prawn & The Seafood Gang - but apparently called something else last week (an in-joke for 2 people in the audience) - only kept me awake because I had a second coffee while they sang.
I suppose I should not expect too much from a group who describe themselves as "a bunch of thespians who like a few laughs, some pretty lights and a good show", but then I only got a few laughs, the lights were very basic, and the show was mildly so-so. Perhaps it's nice not to have to face confrontational theatre, but I would like young bloods to challenge me a little. I shudder when I think of the upcoming Pinter.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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