ENLIGHTENING AND MEMORABLE
This Kitchen is Not Imaginary
by Ben Anderson
directed by Samantha Molyneux
presented by The People Who Play With Theatre
at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 10 Apr 2012 to 14 Apr 2012
Reviewed by Shanon O'Sullivan, 12 Apr 2012
Thoughts are illustrated through human form in playwright Ben Anderson's new play This Kitchen is Not Imaginary. Its description as a ‘visually daring tale' couldn't be more accurate as it encompasses an engaging melange of witty antics which have some serious clout underneath exterior human facades.
A man (Alex Walker) is tormented by his companion (Jeremy Rodmell), and a chorus of others (Caleb Wright, Nathan Tunbridge, Jonathan P. Riley, and Jessie Rose McCall) romp and wrestle with Walker in all manner of warbled means. Humorous and sombre innuendos are directed at Walker in which themes of identity, authority, and peer pressure, to name a few, are interspersed.
Things turn grim when a knife appears and is used to taunt and tease. Walker proclaims “I'm getting sadder and sadder” as he struggles to deal with the persistent presence of others. An outside voice from the universe conveys intermittent rational remarks which provide some balance amidst the anarchy.
Set designs are modified swiftly. A kitchen and lounge, swirling waves on the ocean and a makeshift boat with its billowing sail provide landmarks upon the stage. Doron Von Trapp integrates an accompanying musical score with eloquent melodies on the piano and instrumental percussive sounds that provide effective cues.
The chorus of others also provide amusing sound effects during their various antics and as Walker steers his boat through choppy waters these misfits transform into vivacious puppeteers in motion. Sharks prowl the waters and a lively battle scene between man and shark provides a hilarious sight as they fight to the death. Lumberjacks arrive and hustle nearby, and Phoebe Borwick's deceptive ploy and hysterical screaming sends Walker into a spin.
Tension and turmoil builds and explodes, and Walker is suddenly revitalized. All is forgiven and the closing scene provides an astute message which encapsulates the play.
Director Samantha Molyneux's influence and presence is evident through the cohesive interplay between characters on stage and Anderson's clever script is a fresh and innovative revelation on the inner psyche. This lively cast deliver an engaging performance and their use of puppets and props send recurring ripples of laughter through the audience. It has been an enlightening and memorable night at the theatre.
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See also reviews by:
Sharu Delilkan (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);