Reviewed – 9th November 2017
“a tighter script, clearer concept, and more character development needed”
Set in a bizarre and darkly comic world, Flycatcher, written and directed by Gregg Masuak, is about lust, deceit and the darkest parts of ourselves. The play centres around Madelaine, a young waitress with a fascination for creepy crawlies, who becomes involved with Bing, an American happy-go-lucky door-to-door insurance salesman and Olive, a stand-offish art gallery owner with a striking resemblance to Grace Kelly.
The actors made the best of an ambitious but ultimately disappointing script. Emily Arden did a particularly good job of portraying the obsessive and conniving Madelaine. Susanna Wolff and Melissa Dalton were impressive – playing a large number of characters from gossipy waitresses with filthy minds, to obnoxious cutesy makeup salespeople, with precision and excellent comic timing. Nathan Plant and Bruce Kitchener also did well playing a multitude of roles. Plant’s physicality in particular was well done and added to the comedy. Kooky grandma Mae, played by Fiz Marcus, was also very funny, though her presence in some scenes often felt unnecessary.
The main issue with Flycatcher was that it felt dated and out of time and place. Bing’s dialogue, clothes, and obsession with Grace Kelly made him a 1950s American caricature. In contrast, other characters used flip phones and a chunky 90s landline rang throughout the show. The setting was also confusing; many of the characters had American accents yet paid for things in pounds. Perhaps these choices were intentional to emphasise the unsettling world of Flycatcher but overall the concept seemed to miss the mark.
The set was simple yet effective. Islington’s intimate Hope Theatre was transformed into a spider’s web by placing white tape on the floor in a web pattern. During the pre-set four characters stood at the edge of the web while Madelaine lay on the floor at the centre, entangled in the dark mess of the story. The piano music which played at the start of both acts added to the sinister atmosphere but more sound design would have been useful in clarifying the setting of scenes, as this was often unclear.
Overall, the performances were strong and there were funny moments but a tighter script, clearer concept, and more character development were needed to make it the dark comic thriller it could be.
Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com
is at the Hope Theatre until 2nd December