Review - The Flick: mixed feelings
Kevin Hofbauer as Avery and Nagaire Dawn Fair as Rose,
By Annie Baker
Directed by Nadia Tass
Queensland Theatre, QPAC, Red Stitch Theatre production
Cremorne Theatre Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: February 10-March 5. Bookings: www.qpac.com.au or 136 246
On the Thursday night I was at the Cremorne about one third of the audience left the theatre at interval. The rest stayed and enjoyed the meanderings of the trio of American misfits who talked and swept up popcorn for close to three hours on stage.
The Flick is that sort of play: it is a Pulitzer prize-winner; so is it brilliant and destined to be a classic or a peek at the Emperor’s new clothes? Those who stayed saw the royal robes and those who left saw a naked emperor
I saw a Facebook play: snippets of their lives posted up there for all to see. There is no semblance of order, short scenes, long breaks, and dialogue that breathed the bleakness of their lives. My wife thought it was a bit like Seinfeld only not funny.
There were some funny moments though that had the audience chuckling, and some true drama, especially in the second, shorter act.
Avery is a young film buff on a break from college who takes a job as an usher at crumbling Massachusetts cinema. Sam, his 35-year old co-worker seems resigned to a dead-end life of sweeping up stale popcorn and waiting patiently for promotion to projectionist while he lusts after Rose, the actual projectionist who is outwardly cool, but inwardly insecure.
Their workplace, The Flick, is on the verge of being sold, the old 35 mm projector dispensed with and new digital projector installed. Sam and Rose worry about their jobs while Avery worries about the end of film as an art form.
The three characters are well brought to life by Nagaire Dawn Fair as Rose, Kevin Hofbauer as Avery and Ben Prendergast as Sam. There is an extra man, Dion Mills, who plays a couple of small roles.
Sam and Rose are little people with little lives and tiny ambitions and jealousies. They see the rut with pay as better than no rut and no pay. They like life on an even keel. In The Flick the self-centred Rose knows she is attractive. Outside I am not so sure.
As the play progressed in the 90 minute-long first act I was with those who left; I was bored and saw the action as tedious but I slowly became engrossed in the characters, particularly in Rose who was the bonding element in the play. But the act did meander too much for me with lots of words that said nothing important, but in the end I was drawn in and was with those who remained to give the actors warm applause at the end.
It was like being addicted to a reality television show where little things are amplified into big events.
It is not a play for anyone who needs strong plotlines and confrontations or laugh-aloud comedy but I couldn’t pinpoint who it would appeal It is just one of those odd plays, I watched it, but wouldn’t want to watch it again. It is definitely no masterpiece of theatre.