‘The notorious’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by October 8, 2018

‘The notorious’ is a romantic, comedy mystery – yes, three plays for the price of one! – and it is having its world premiere here in Perth. The play was written by Timothy Brain, the playwright of last year’s controversial, Fringeworld thriller ‘The Hostage’ and the 2016 acclaimed Nexus hit of the year, ‘The Mummy Rises’.

Tim is a Fremantle lad who studied theatre at Murdoch a ‘few’ years ago, and is now manages their theatres.

This play is co-presented by The Nexus Theatre and ‘From the Hip Productions’. ’The Notorious’ is showing for four nights only, at Studio 411 in the grounds of Murdoch University, (opposite car park 4 – free parking) off South Street in Murdoch.

The curtain rises on this 45-minute play at 7.00 on Friday and Saturday evenings until 13th October.

The scene: is a police interrogation room in the New York City Department of Correction.

The set: was designed by theatre designer and artist, Allison Snell. The walls of the stark room are matt black. The room lighting consisted of three, black coolie-hat metal lamps, with a safety grid fitted beneath.

A great deal of care had been taken to give authenticity to situation. The police files and badges were marked with a department logo. The officers carried a pistol on their belt, and a brass police ID. The prisoner was wearing a pair of bright orange, detention overalls.

The lighting came from dim LCD filament globes. The night club was illuminated by multi-coloured spotlights. The sound was crisp with a couple of unusual sound effects required, such as a solenoid door lock. The best sound I have heard in Studio 411.

The stage management was by Sabrina Wyatt. Excellent work by all of the crew.

           A handcuffed female prisoner, Jennifer Bryant (Ella Ewart) is slouched over a table, when the door opens and two police officers enter. One, Detective Wren (Jason Tolj) is cool, and calmly introduces himself, before starting to interrogate the woman. The other, Detective Nolan (Declan Scott Atkinson) however, thinks he is suave, sitting astride the chair he tries the heavy approach.

         Even when accused of murder, the female prisoner boldly challenges them back.

         What exactly did happen on the previous night?

Timothy Brain has, with both his dialogue writing and inventive direction, created a fast moving and thoroughly enjoyable piece. As the clever storyline unfolded, the three actors were in perfect tune with each other. An impressive cast.

This play, with its small troupe and wonderful script is ideal for the smaller community theatre that is looking for a challenge or something a little different. Great fun, very well presented.