Armslength – a play

January 26, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Play Review | Leave a comment
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I got the chance and went to Circa Theatre to see a play.

Jan 26, 2008 by

Theatre Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

The play has five characters and three scene settings – actually there are four, but you see three most of the time.

The theatre space has no arch, so the audience is very close to the cast; at the end the audience is co-opted in to be the audience at a gallery openning. The three setting are side-by-side across the stage: a post-graduate office, a student flat, and a lecturer’s office. The characters never actually cross from one directly onto another; clever stage design creates the impression of doors and a series of corridors and roads at the back of the stage.

The cast are:

  • Elsie, played by Kate Prior, is a a photo journalist come home to study photographic art and to patch up things with her younger sister.
  • Ruth, Abby Marment, is Elsie’s estranged sister. She has a Mac-job, having stopped dancing, to support herself and her student boyfriend.
  • Steve, Jamie McCaskill, is the student boyfriend – half way through a two-year photographic art course.
  • Julie, Emma Robinson, is a photographic art lecturer and mildly famous as a photographer.
  • Harry, Eli Kent, is an alcoholic PhD student studying the Earth’s magnetism. a very geeky guy.

With an uneven number of characters and an uneven number of the sexes, the opportunity for pairing, triangles and quadrangles is explointed to the full. You wonder at times: who else has a relationship who, that is about to be disclosed. There is a love quadrangle !

The play is definitely worth the ticket price. The plot is rich – maybe too rich. I hope that the playwright – Branwen Millar – has not used up all of her material. There is even a knock-down fight. Plus the obligatory shock end.

For me, the best character was Harry: a real nerd !



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