It’s a Playception
Reviewed – 8th September 2019
“A perfect demonstration that you don’t always need high production value if you have a good idea”
Sirenna and Elise are putting on a play about two women putting on a play about two women putting on a play. It’s their first venture together, and they really have no idea what they’re doing. They know they’re being ripped off by the venue, they know they don’t know anything about marketing and they know that if they don’t completely sell out, they’re going to lose a lot of money and face. But they’ve decided to go ahead all the same.
The play itself is a continuous story about the lead-up to putting on a play (about the lead-up to putting on a play and so on), but often we’re uncertain whether we’re watching the play or the play within the play, as are Sirenna (Olivia Baker) and Elise (Evangeline Duncan). In a confusing babble trying to work out which they’re talking about, Elise cuts in, “Is this the play? Wait…this is real life. Right?”
And the requirements for the play with the play continuously effect the play itself. After a discussion with the “very attractive but generally unhelpful” technician (Josh Redding), for example, who demands they not use real coffee in the play (“no liquids on stage”) they appear in the next scene holding empty coffee cups, pretending to drink.
Baker and Duncan create a very believable friendship, built on a seemingly genuine love and respect for one another which is expressed through seemingly stupid things, such as excitement over matching coffee orders, or entire conversations about why one another’s outfits are so great. Similarly, bubbling tensions are shown in minor quibbles and sideways glances. The characters seem so whole that I was quite surprised to see the actors didn’t go by the same name.
The play’s concept being set in a theatre, there’s not much required in the way of scenery or props – just a couple of coffee cups and mobile phones and we’re away! A perfect demonstration that you don’t always need high production value if you have a good idea.
It’s a Playception will not have you up all night trying to work out what it all means – there’s no ever-lasting spinning top to make you feel like you’re losing your mind. That being said, the central concept is fun and, though a silly idea in theory, very cleverly and wittily executed.
Reviewed by Miriam Sallon
It’s a Playception
Hope Theatre until 9th September
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: