Refreshing comedy exploring the unattainable
By Owen James
I really, really enjoyed this piece; the writing (Michael Costi) is tight and punchy, the performances are sublime, and the title perfectly encapsulates the whole show. It’s topical, relevant, engaging theatre that entertains very successfully, and has heart we find within the characters’ abolished stress.
Costi has created two likeable, relatable characters who thrive on conflict – driving the narrative forward and keeping us consistently connected. Their decision to evade internal impulse and live “stress-free” unleashes brilliant, explosive tirades that are hilarious and exposing. Fears of salmonella plagues, Uber driver deportation, and lavender fascism are inspired and highly amusing.
Direction from Eve Beck is smart and refined, making creative use of the minimalist but evocative cling-filmed design by Ellen Stanistreet. There is a real sense of evolving, heightening stakes impinging on these lost lives, maintaining our interest throughout. Effective sound design from Alexander Lee-Rekers builds upon this and is extremely well utilised, uniting the cohesive vision for the show.
Jasmin Simmons and Tom Mesker are both extremely well-suited to the material and their characters, crafting realistic, professional performances that leave never a bored moment. As their deflated meditations on life as directionless, disappointed twenty-somethings (“where’s our homemade jam? Where are our friends?”) inspire a life-consuming obsessive pursuit of tranquillity, we see the duplicity of desire and decision fuel combusting, frenetic mania, and both Simmons and Mesker expertly play every extreme to its height; two stars in the making. Ryan Hodson’s perhaps underwritten character feels occasionally out of place, but he delivers a charming and rousing finale that earns his worth.
This show deserves a second life, where I would absolutely take my twenty-something friends to laugh at our imaginatively amplified reflection onstage. Congratulations to Bite Productions for a thoroughly enjoyable venture.
Photo courtesy of La Mama