Zoo Charteris – Aviary
“It is the mid-90s, the dot-com millionaires are kings… Austin and his wife Jess host a dinner party to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of friends Robert and Stacia. Austin and Robert are estranged childhood friends, until Robert rings Austin out of the blue to be his best man. These unfortunate boys spent three years together in an unusual sort of Saturday club leaving them scarred and isolated. Jess knows both men’s’ secret predilections, Stacia doesn’t. Over the course of the evening the truth unfurls itself, with explosive consequences.”
Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars
With a lovely Set Design that’s simple and effective there’s a feel of an old-fashioned Noel Coward play about this.
Some simple projections also help with scene change and location setting. A few props and furniture adorn the stage – a good eye to establish the scene without distracting.
This is probably the best lighting on the Fringe for a conventional play. However I was glad not to be sitting under the lighting fixtures on the steel scaff poles hanging from the ceiling by chains and without any safety lines!
Austin struggles to “get off” so his partner goes to some length to help him out. The role play here treads a fine comedic line. The back story gently unfolds and trots along well until, out of the blue, Stacia comes on with a double barreled gun and shoots at short range to some Sound Effects. It’s unclear if this is now farce and we’re supposed to laugh or if this is a seriously dramatic moment, an ensuing fight ends the dilemma as Stacia falls half on and half off stage.
So there are 5 in the cast: 2 couples and a crop-top camp as tits male maid nick-named Sinead who serves the drinks. He allegedly supplied the gun to Stacia. Jess and Sinead apparently don’t get along but we’re not really told anything about Sinead, why he’s there, how he came to be employed by someone with a beard-wife? And there’s the back story of the 2 men being forced into gay conversion therapy by their church when they were children. It’s a mish-mash of ideas that gives tit-bits clues as to what has happened and what is now going on.
It works wonderfully as a camp sit-com along the lines of the TV show “Soap” but is possibly presented a little too seriously to hit that funny bone.
A fun hour to be had in the company of this mad-cap bunch of American actors!