Nothing to Lose is a new play by the company Fifth Gear Productions at the Dog Theatre in Footscray. The premise is simple, if a little clichéd - two people, a man, Jasper (Philip Hayden) and a woman, Carla (Emma Choy) meet in an Airport. As they strike up a conversation, they begin to reveal how it is that they’ve come to be there. It seems Carla is there to see her fraternal twin Rachael, and Jasper has come to surprise his fiancé Lottie. What they don’t know is that Lottie and Rachael are the same person.
The play kicks into high gear when Lottie/Rachael (Sarah Plummer) arrives and suddenly all of the stories Carla and Jasper have told each other are thrown into doubt. The premise is clichéd but where Adele Shelley’s play is different is that she has chosen to set the play in an airport in a third world country, where just outside the front door, civil unrest and revolution threatens to destabilise the fragile country. This is a wise choice that accurately serves to counterpoint the immediate onstage action and also sufficiently ratchets up the tension.
All three leads give strong performances particularly Philip Hayden whose Jasper is suitably harried. Although at times Emma Choy appears too good looking and intelligent to play someone like Carla who is supposed to be the dowdy one in her family, but this is minor quibble. If there is one genuine complaint it is that the play lingers too long on establishing a relationship between Carla and Jasper, when we know (or suspect) that a third character is waiting in the wings. Once all three are on stage the drama picks up the pace and never lets up, and it would’ve have been nicer to arrive at that sooner.
The play is excellently directed by Adele Shelley and at a brief hour never outstays its welcome. The set by Chris Partington is excellent, clearly evoking the sense of a third world airport that only recently got indoor plumbing, and the lighting design by Emil Adinolfi is precisely effective, tightly mirroring what takes place on stage without overshadowing it.
This is a tight and tense production that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
Fifth Gear Productions presents
Nothing to Lose
by Adèle Shelley
Venue: The Dog Theatre | 42a Albert Rd, Footscray, VIC,
Dates: 10 – 20 November, 2010
Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm
Tickets: $20 Full; $15 Concession