‘Not If I Die First’ is a comedy / drama written by WA playwright Jordan Baynes. The story line is very similar to Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’.
This 70-minute presentation can be seen nightly at 7.30 until 1st September. It is being performed in Studio 411 on the Murdoch South Street campus, opposite car park 4. The ticket price is $10.
The scene: Modern day at a student birthday party. See the events of the Spalding murders in Lincolnshire.
The set: A wardrobe, a one by two metre pine wood crate, and a leather three-seater settee. Very few props, and the ones they had fell apart.
Evie MacPherson’s proficient lighting design picked out the action well. The opening announcement was at minimal volume – this has been a fault in this theatre for some time. Is there an amplifier or speaker problem?
A terrified girl is running from a chainsaw killer, and decides to hide in a wooden crate but finds that there is another person already hiding in there. It soon becomes obvious that the dozen or so guests have devised a game in which each one of the group will die – in a set order!
Who will be the last to survive?
Oh dear. Sorry but the huge cast are not going to like this – hence the lack of credits.
The direction instructions appeared to be almost nil. Standing the cast of (unlucky) 13 in two semicircles, motionless and facing the audience is not the way to handle a large cast.
The dialogue generally had no emotion, there was no chemistry.
One actor spent almost the whole play glancing around at the audience, even during a face to face chat this actor’s eyes were peeking at the audience, presumably to see if they were still there?
Most of the actors stood expressionless with their arms at their sides. One or two of the cast tried, but still looked mechanical.
With the exception of Hannah Anderson, Amber Jantjies (who died too early in the play) and Davis Anderson who were well ahead of the team, the acting was disappointing. Although there are cast members who are capable of fine performances, the acting quality ranged from competent to dire.
The final curtain call was greeted by the least enthusiastic audience that I have heard in years, and yet the cast milked the applause. Normally after the curtain is lowered, or the cast left the stage, the lights then come on and everyone leaves; however, here there was a 30-second announcement thanking everyone for coming and wishing them a safe journey home, and advising the folk of the website for the next production. Sorry I just wanted to get out, I had already lost 70 minutes of my life. Cruel, but restrained.