Brighton Fringe 2013
Two flatmates return from a night out in the pubs. They’ve had a great time but things start to go strange as one becomes increasingly paranoid and dangerous. Although it is a psychological drama there is much to lighten it and make it funny as well as tense.
Two young women are getting ready for a night out in pubs and clubs. They stoke themselves up with drink and saunter off to have fun. When they come later the atmosphere is not different from earlier, until one of the flatmates, Karen (played by Helen Pepper-Smith) says that she and Dave are planning to leave. Things develop from there in a decidedly weird way and one wonders if she is trying to get Amy (Sally C Davis) to believe that it is a good idea for them to leave. However, that is not referred to again and Karen starts behaving very oddly. She sees cockroaches coming out of plugs, she laughs at a television programme when the television is off, and begins to accuse Amy of spiking her drinks. The disintegration in her behaviour and mental health worsens and Karen becomes increasingly anxious and distressed until Karen takes a knife to her and locks her outside on the balcony.
This could be a straightforward depiction of schizophrenic and paranoid behaviour, but there is a decided tongue in the cheek approach to the whole performance. This serves to lighten not only moments within the production, such as when they start singing a Madonna song, but also rocks the play’s foundation so that it never feels true to its genre. There was no real mounting of tension or fear that things could really turn nasty. Emotions moved from horror to laughter too quickly to really work as a psychological drama. There were also too many unanswered questions. Why was this happening today? These are friends who had lived together for many years, would it all just develop to such an extent so quickly and without any previous warning? The time seemed fluid too; they came home from the pub but spoke about going to the park, and that is while wearing pyjamas. And that was by the sensible one.
There were some wonderful moments in the acting and direction. When Amy and Karen were getting ready to go out, they stood in front of the mirror (the audience) and synchronised those private moments women sometimes have, pouting, turning, looking admiringly at all sides. Amy’s breaking down crying in fear was also convincing.
There is a real joie de vivre, not only about the actresses in the play, but about the entire company. This is seen in the way of acting, the obvious chemistry between the two, and also in the programme notes. This was particularly evident in the very last moment, delivered directly to the audience, and which brought the house down.