Fringe Review: Triffic Travel
Triffic TravelReviewed by Lyndon Hood
By Sam Fisher
21-25, 28 Feb, 1-4 Mar
At The Terrace Travel, 88 The Terrace
Bookings 04 934 4068, www.backyardtheatre.co.nz"
The Café Dement team have another site-specific comedy for this year's Fringe. Triffic Travel uses a real travel agents' office to present their vision of holiday planning gone to the dogs.
The site is something of a challenge - while there is a surprising amount of room for seats, a few of them can't see the whole action. But this is made up for in novelty value, an intimate setting and the most realistic set imaginable.
The action follows the Triffic Travel's already peculair employees (we don't meet any customers) through the last hour of an afternoon that is far from normal. Sharilynne (convincingly played by Pip O'Connell) is a bundle of nerves, desperately trying to reach her sales target. Manager Roger (Rodney Bane) tries somewhat mournfully to make everyone go home. Matty (Brianne Kerr) the cleaner is full of flaky aphorisms and Mandy (Bev Driscoll), thanks to her mastery of employment litigation, does nothing. Driscoll's performance - and appearance - is more flamboyant (whereas Bane's is relatively laid back), but given they way it calls Pam Corkery to mind I hesitate to call it unrealistic.
The character's interactions - first grating against each other and then increasingly getting in each other's way - provides the bluk of the comedy. The dialogue is also peppered with arch political and pop culture references and jokes.
However, nothing is quite as it seems at Triffic Travel. As time goes on we discover - or are told - more and more of characters' secrets and hidden motivations. Finally, as things seem to be running to a conclusion we might well have seen coming from a few broad hints, a couple of sudden twists spice up the ending. These revelations invite us to re-evalute almost the whole action and are pretty entertaining. I sure didn't see them coming - possibly because, while being consistent with what went before, nothing predicted it. The best plot twists you kick yourself afterwards for not getting - these were just exciting revelations that happened at the end.
The production seemed sometimes to be questing towards true farce but does not quite achieve it. The action does not build quite as much as it could, many ideas are raised for a good joke only to fall by the wayside and some of the action is not entirely driven by what has gone before. But Triffic Travel is a fun comedy of character and situation. I enjoyed it.