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One Shot: When Obsession Becomes Compulsion

One Shot: When Obsession Becomes Compulsion

Scoop Review By Selwyn Manning

There’s a place far away from the light that exists in all of us. For some, it may be a slight obsession that’s kept tucked away nice and secret. For others it’s an overwhelming void that craves attention.

For some, we put it down to quirk: an inner voice whispering ‘turn off the switches, check, check, check…’ Or have you noticed how no one notices even when you skilfully glide along, your footsteps measured to dodge the cracks underfoot.

In Auckland, there’s a play that will have you pondering the obsessive in you. Playing at The Edge’s Herald Theatre is One Shot – but beware One Shot will have you standing on the outside looking into yourself.

One Shot is directed and written by Mark Kilmurry and brilliantly performed by John Trutwin.

One Shot is all about one man’s obsession with love, revenge, and Robert de Niro. Charlie is the personification of celebrity obsession.

Like Stan's confession to Eminem, One Shot is Charlie's letter to his 'special friend' Bobby D (Robert De Niro) in an attempt to justify his involvement with the angelic Marie, and the tele actor Ian who has the respect and admiration that has always eluded Charlie.

One Shot premiered at Sydney's Belvoir St in 1993, has played to acclaim at New York and Edinburgh fringe festivals and was staged by both Wellington's Downstage and, more recently, Sydney Theatre Company.

Early in the play, there’s a line the character Charlie mutters about being on the outside looking in. It’s an insight into the world of a man who has never fitted into the groove. The comment gives perspective to the audience, offers a place to contemplate from where the plot draws the observer into a world of paranoia and introspection. The self-obsession is contagious. Jealousy consumes Charlie and slowly, but surely it expresses itself through his violent psychosis.

It’s clearly a demanding role to play, alone on stage where every part of the actor’s being is used to convey a tortured fan who obsesses about de Niro, his films, his career, his life, his characters. Trutwin is tremendous.

The set is simple, a chair, a desk, an old briefcase, a small cache of revolvers and a combat jacket. Selective spot-lighting pierces the loneliness of this dark set to provide a place where the obsessive character of Charlie lurks. And sitting in the second row of the Herald Theatre, one can smell the actor’s anguish as he becomes the created.

And in this tight theatre when the revolver fires it will pierce your space, you will smell spent gunpowder and see a spotlight catch smoke wheezing from the barrel, and be witness to dread as awareness meets the light, when a life-long obsession becomes compulsion, becomes a reality.

Don’t miss this play. It’s excellent.

One Shot is on at The Edge’s Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre at 8pm daily until June 19.

For more, see

Book at Ticketek 09 307-5000 or

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