Camden Fringe 2014
Cracked Cup Theatre Company makes their debut on the Camden Fringe with the exciting dark tragi comedy Disposable Darlings. Out of the box, highly physical, innovative theatre with a huge amount of potential!
The show starts off in normality. We are at what looks like a birthday party set up. There is even a giant present in the form of a massive cardboard box. Glen meets Sadie (Lindsay Styler), the very bubbly delivery lady whose attempts to flirt are met with pure awkwardness from Glen. Following her departure we discover Glen’s secret. Glen is a normal bloke who has some unusually static friends, living dolls. First we meet Glen’s girlfriend, living doll Brooke. There are multiple television programmes about the living doll phenomenon with so many people turning to real dolls for comfort from their lonely lives. Usually there is a stigma attached to this indicating this is a dirty habit and mostly about sex with dolls.
The beauty of this show Disposable Darlings is the focus shifts from a voyeuristic sex fantasy to the idea of the epic loneliness some people feel and the understanding that interaction with people for some is very awkward and a huge challenge. Glen is one of those lonely people and his dolls, or as he calls them friends, are both men and women. We play with dolls or toys as children and it is perfectly legitimate to play make believe, however one we reach adulthood this becomes taboo. Disposable Darlings comments on this and effectively challenges norms in society with great sensitivity and precision.
The first doll we meet in the play is Brooke played with absolute commitment by Emily Rose. Her chemistry on stage with Damien Hughes playing Glen is strong. Rose brings a stillness and clarity to the role of Brooke while all the time exuding extreme personality despite not moving a muscle except for the blinking of her eyes. Despite being a fresh graduate from East 15 (like the entire cast) and also part of an ensemble, Rose is an extraordinary talent and there is little doubt that she stands out from the crowd and will go on to have a very successful future career as an actor. Performers with ability like Rose are rare and it is a privilege to watch. In saying that the performances from Lyall Logan as Glen’s skeptical and shortsighted brother Clive and Daisy Boyden as Glen’s new acquisition doll Rene are also very compelling. James Ferguson and Matthew Corbett also shine as the male dolls Clive Doll and Drake respectively. Lindsay Styler is strong as the woman trying to gain Glen’s attention.
This theatre production is the result of a East 15 graduate work that has been extended. This is surprising and it is a complete delight to watch students from this institution who are graduating equipped with originality, great physical skills and active imaginations for creating new and exciting theatre. In all honesty there is so much more to explore with this subject matter and the characters Cracked Cup have created. There is definitely room for further development and my only complaint is that currently 45 minutes is not long enough in the world of these intriguing characters. I look forward to seeing more from Cracked Cup in the not too distant future.