Fringe: You Know What, I Really Don’t Like You
You Know What, I Really Don’t Like YouReviewed by Paul Ross
You Know What, I Really Don’t Like
Written & Produced by Amalia Calder
Co-Directed by Lorraine Ward
11 - 16
8.00pm (60 Minutes)
The Paramount (04 384 4080, www.paramount.co.nz)
The stage is fairly bare, containing some cushions in the middle, some books nearby, a punching bag hanging to the right and another lying on the floor, an inflatable hammer and baseball bat, and a yoga ball off to the left.
As it turns out, Jed (Mike King – not the standup comedian) is under the cushions in what is eventually revealed as a workplace time-out room. A woman walks onstage then abruptly walks off. Then a different woman, Jan (Amalia Calder) walks on in a huff and sits on the cushions, revealing Jed.
Interactions between the characters are often frenetic, moving the plot along at breakneck speed. What’s more, the movement on the stage never lets the eyeballs rest for more than a couple of seconds. If this were a tennis match, then most audience members would have strained their necks, AND their eye sockets.
The beginning of the play reveals a highly-strung boss, Storm (Nicole Smith), struggling to assert her status over Jed - who apparently writes for Storm’s business, earning the company lots of money. But the reason Jed resists being bossed around has more to to with his social ineptitude and many psychological problems. When Jed’s father, Charlie (Russell Raethel), enters the stage via the audience’s left aisle, it becomes obvious how Jed got that way.
The myriad relationships are exposed over time. There are hints that Jan likes Jed, allusions to Storm’s sex life and an 11th hour admission – someone else is adopted. Some of these relations are not developed enough to give any imperative to the final outcome - where yet more relationships exposed.
As a bombshell lands in Jan’s lap, the energy between the players steps up a notch. However, this vigour quickly siphons away when the final words are uttered, “You know what, I really don’t like you,” leaving me completely under whelmed.
If you like quirky plays, then you might enjoy this one.