I read that you can burn the same amount of calories watching a thriller as in a 30-minute run. If that’s true then, watching North of Eight’s Toyer gave me quite the workout.
Written by Gardner McKay, the psychological thriller explores the ease in which we can manipulate and be manipulated, pushing our once fixed moral boundaries into loose imitations of their former stagnant state.
We begin with Maude (Faran Martin) a clinical psychologist traumatised by her patients conditions after becoming victims of “The Toyer,” a man who takes his pleasure from voyeurism, charming his female victims and then rendering them zombies with his horrific crimes. Somewhat on edge, Maude is highly strung and makes for uncomfortable watching. When Peter (Kashmir Sinnamon) enters, the tension is heightened. A seemingly good Samaritan, however, Maude remains wary, unwilling to let him in the house until at last she relents, her good manners getting the better of her.
What follows is a cat and mouse chase of high stakes, with the hunter/hunted roles constantly shifting. Both Maude and Peter attempt to outwit the other, manipulating each other with exceptional skill and leaving the audience breathless with anticipation.
The script allows for moments of humor, and under the direction of Sarah Hallam is a welcome relief from the tension on stage. These moments do not last long however, and almost instantly the audience is transported back into the terrifying game of mental manipulation.
Martin and Sinnamon have wonderful onstage chemistry and give standout performances. So much is riding on their delivery and connection with each other and they never let it drop, this is a game of life and death and they ensure the audience is never too comfortable with this fact.
Simply, Toyer is a brilliant play, and having a terrific script to work with, the actors do justice to this terrifyingly glorious story. It is hard to believe this is only the company’s second production as it has the polished finish of a much more established company.
I implore you, go see this play... and maybe wear your fitbit to see how many calories you can burn...
North of Eight presents
by Gardner McKay
Directed by Sarah Hallam
Venue: The Courthouse | 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Dates: April 26 – May 13, 2017