The second show of Queensland Theatre’s 2017 season got underway with a bright light and minimal cinematic set at QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre.
'The Flick', a Red Stitch Actors Theatre production written by Annie Baker, follows young film enthusiast Avery (Kevin Hofbauer) as he lands a job ushering and sweeping popcorn at a rundown local movie theatre. Joined by thirty-something-year-old Sam (Ben Prendergast), who appears to be destined to clear up popcorn and lolly wrappers for the rest of his days, and the eccentric and ever-sporadic projectionist Rose (Ngaire Dawn Fair), the three bond over listlessness and movie trivia.
A dimly-lit stage greeted the audience, who were quickly taken aback by the rows of empty theatre seats staring back at them. Within the backdrop, a film projection window lit up with a single bright projector beam shining into the audience. A film’s final credits rolled, and as the lights went up the audience found Sam demonstrating the post-show walk-through to Avery on his first shift.
Each scene then followed with the two ushers sweeping the rows of littered popcorn, wrappers and the odd sleeping theatre-goer. Despite this simplistic walk-through scene, and its variations, being the only action onstage for much of the production, the audience were at first intrigued then mesmerised by each of the characters.
What would have seemed monotonous repetition to most became an enthralling performance from start to finish, and a true testament to writing talent and the cast’s character portrayal. From the opening scene to final lines of the show, the seemingly incompatible colleagues had the audience in fits of laughter, most likely due to relatability of the banter and monotony of a workplace.
Though perhaps what was the most astounding element of 'The Flick' was the audacity to bring typically inappropriate or unspoken topics to light in humour. Nothing was off the table, and without spoiling the giggles, expect the unexpected, the unsavoury and sometimes the uncouth! In all, 'The Flick' was an incredibly real and raw production. As the theatre establishment around the characters began to crumble, the audience witnessed all-too-familiar relationships develop, and watched on as tensions boiled over and awkwardness developed into grudges.
All on their Queensland Theatre debut, the three main cast members were stellar in their performance, making for an entertaining show bringing to life three ordinary characters in their own dramatic world.