REVIEW: No Time to Dry (Basement Theatre)

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No Time to Dry

No Time to Wait

Basement Theatre’s Studio is so tightly full of keen viewers members earlier than the premiere of playwright and director Lucy Dawber’s newest comedic providing No Time to Dry, {that a} Basement workers member finally ends up giving their seat to the ultimate individual to enter the room. There’s an anticipation within the air that I’ve hardly ever skilled like this; maybe it’s the casting – an ensemble who’ve largely labored collectively by way of Bullrush improv troupe, or in Dawber’s earlier play Hardly Working – or possibly it’s the intriguing premise of a fiercely feminist spy romp. Personally, it’s having excessive expectations from realizing Dawber’s back-catalogue of labor and her robust abilities as a author and comedic performer, notably in her 2022 autobiographical one-woman present Rich People Cry Too (remounted for the 2024 NZ Comedy Festival subsequent month.) 

As the viewers assembles, a person is on his knees centre stage – arms behind his again, face obscured by a paper bag. A playful forwards and backwards with a disembodied voice of the villain (Dawber) units the tone of the night, firmly touchdown in parody. The particulars of why the person has been captured really feel inconsequential, and the emphasis is on the comedy which places me relaxed, after pondering of how advanced spy plots may be. This is all-together a distinct beast and, as we’re launched to the subsequent set of characters, it’s clear that Dawber’s focus is on uplifting and elevating the work of her distinctive actors.  

Brit O’Rourke is protagonist Ada, a pushover classroom trainer unaffectionately identified by her youngsters as ‘pretzel-face.’ She has a clumsy crush on a colleague, Janet/Jane (Georgia Pringle) who ignores her opening scene advances. At the laundrette, Ada laments about her day to close-knit associates, Martha (Jacinta Compton) and Carmen (Gabriela Chauca) who’re fellow millennials with a shared frustration in direction of the hum-drum and their flagging careers. 

After discovering themselves in a secret room behind a dryer, they fend for his or her lives and we’re launched to prime boss 001 (Millie Hanford). The threesome’s confusion at being invited into the NZ Secret Intelligence Service offers the primary heady hit of laughter, and the nuances of Hanford’s comedic efficiency and her exit from stage ends in uncontainable hysterics from the room. The hilarity is testomony not solely to the bodily comedy of all performers, however to Dawber’s writing and route. 

Without delving too deeply into the plot or spoilers, the motion unfolds with the three associates and mentor Jane displaying them the ropes of spydom. It’s attention-grabbing to notice how the play opened with a person (Vincent Andrew-Scammell), however more often than not the feminine characters take up house in a genre-busting method. Ada, Carmen and Martha are every distinctive and complimentary, particularly evidenced throughout a polygraph take a look at scene cementing their neuroses and offering the arrange for a musical call-back from Martha later within the denouement. 

The sound design is powerful (Vincent Andrew-Scammell) with an orchestral James Bond fashion rating underpinning pressure, which enhances extra refined textures e.g. the faucet of the polygraph, the beep of a digital pc display or swipe card entry door. As with many opening nights, there are moments when the sound steadiness wants adjusting however this isn’t distracting and is a welcomed effort to maintain dialogue entrance and centre. 

The house is utilised in an intriguing method, with some scenes going down behind the opaque white gauze curtain, and a central gap permits for entry to the primary stage (when not using hilarious comando rolls beneath it). Lighting design is evocative, utilizing all the rainbow to mirror temper and house, and chapter titles or infographics are sometimes projected onto the opaque partition. Details like this showcase Dawber’s considerate route, and serve to raise the compelling areas – (a coaching ring! An airplane! Malaga, Spain!).

It’s a play which might simply switch to an even bigger stage, permitting for the sort of artistic playfulness Dawber excels at. That mentioned, the sparse set permits the performers to actually shine, and their bodily theatre and mime-work is very skillful. Additional props, bells and whistles would take away from this however there’s little doubt extra eyes must be throughout this work.

Opening night time concluded with an awesome response from the viewers who made a lot noise through the curtain-call, cheering and stamping ft, that the ground shook. Don’t miss No Time To Dry if it returns. 

No Time to Dry performed Basement Theatre 23-Twenty seventh April 2024. 

Written and Directed by Lucy Dawber

Starring Brit O’Rourke, Gabriela Chauca, Jacinta Compton, Georgia Pringle, Millie Hanford, and Vincent Andrew-Scammell 

Set and Lighting design by Bekky Boyce 

The Editor apologies for the delay in posting this evaluation.    

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