I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
What lengths will we go to in order to be heard?
The Old 505's annual season of new and experimental works is on again from 22nd Jan - 16th March and features exciting and unique shows, all with a week each to perform at the venue. The second production in this Freshworks season is the provocative Are You Listening Now? by Xavier Coy.
Are You Listening Now? is part of the Freshworks season
The plot is seemingly simple. Down and out robbers, Mez and Gaz, turn up in a fancy house to steal some belongings. Gaz unwittingly thinks this is just another job, but for Mez, its personal. When the homeowners arrive back and find Mez and Gaz in the house the plotline twist and turn before a tragic climax.
Xavier Coy, who also stars in the show as Gaz, displays a strong command of character, dialogue and plot development in his hour long script. For the first half of the show, we're amused by the relationship between the rough, but astute Mez and the hapless, architecture loving Gaz. When the owners come home and chaos ensues, Coy's script keeps us on the edge until the last moment.
As an actor, too, Coy is incredibly likeable. His portrayal of tracksuit-clad Gaz is funny, endearing with an edge of danger when he needs it. As mastermind, Mez, Fiona Mahl is a powerhouse to watch, as her character seamlessly transitions from fully in control to completely vulnerable throughout the play.
As the hapless, rich couple, Emily Stuart and Martin Bell look every bit the part. Stuart's Claudia teeters on the edge of a complete breakdown at times, but manages to hold it together with a thin veil of composure and hospitality. Bell's performance would have been impactful in a larger theatre, but in the intimate space of the Old 505, it feels too big, too overacted and difficult to connect with. He settles into the action as the play goes along and the situation escalates, but needs to start from a softer, more subtle place to work up to the insanity of the play's climax.
Freshworks is a great initiative to support emerging plays and artists and Are You Listening Now? is a great example of the promising work to come out of the season. Running until the 2nd of February, this play is definitely worth the trip to the Old 505.