Review | Laura Money
We’ve all been there – spending more time at work with your colleagues than your family. The strain that places on each relationship, including with your workmates. Liz Newell creates an insulated yet complicated break-room kitchen sink drama in TAKEAWAY, a darkly funny show centred around the employees of an Italian restaurant. The script has all the hallmarks of Newell’s writing – perhaps crammed a little too full with melodramatic plot points – and proves that it’s easy to have an inclusive work that doesn’t virtue signal, merely reflects current times respectfully. Presented in conjunction with Curtin’s Theatre Arts and the Hayman Theatre Company this show is the perfect vehicle to showcase an ensemble cast in which each performer gets their moment to shine.
Hayman Theatre Company performers are worth keeping an eye out for. They all perform their roles admirably – yes there is still quite a bit of student actor there but it seems to dissipate as they get into their roles more. Keely Johnston, for instance plays Tyler a waitress who has aspirations of performing so rehearses her dance routines while heating up her food. The routines and ‘rock eisteddfod’ facial expressions are all too real, sometimes bleeding into her real performance. Ultimately there are enough confrontational scenes for each of the performers to have their dramatic monologue moment – and each of them do it well. Lou (Kate Naunton-Morgan) spends the majority of the time frowning as her character is required to continually put out fires whilst not really able to cope. She has some touching moments with Clem and learns to bond with her colleagues in ways she wouldn’t have dreamed before the events of the play.
Tiandra Seal plays Clem who no Lo get works at the restaurant yet hangs out there all the time. She delivers some heartfelt lines and has a really punchy argument with her best friend Vas (Tom Cartwright) and while at times she borders on stereotypical moves like tearing up and yelling out a monologue she suppresses these inclinations and grows within the scene. Equally, Cartwright has some killer lines that he sometimes delivers a bit too fast but when he slows it down he becomes the king of deadpan. Cartwright isn’t afraid to look stupid either and his get-up when going to dispose of a dead rat is absolutely brilliant!
Next up are Annalisa Cicchini as Charity and Emilie Tiivel as Darcy. These two definitely have the strangest dynamic – obviously respectful of each other but also a little distant. Their relationship is like that if siblings Cicchini delivers some blistering lines and has great timing. Her panic attacks and Tiivel’s subsequent calming down could be bigger as I feel she is holding back a little. Tiivel is a quiet and affable Darcy. They are a character that’s usually in the background and everyone gets onside with their identity – because Tiivel plays Darcy with such charm, the audience are horrified at the prospect of them being in trouble.
Speaking of sweethearts it’s new girl Alma (Zoe Garciano) and resident party animal Danny (Tom Ford) who round out the cast as loveable fan faves. Garciano is so cute as Alma, taking it on the chin when nicknamed Elmo and happy to volunteer for anything. She doesn’t lose her cool when taken advantage of and has everyone cheering when she finally stands up for herself. Her impassioned monologue about their owner being a person with a family is a lovely moment in theatre. Danny is dealing with caring for a family member with cancer. Ford plays him as the most upbeat and fun-loving guy and his stark contrast when breaking down is done very well.
TAKEAWAY is a clever and darkly funny piece. This fresh look at the workplace dynamic is funny and heartfelt. The script is sharp and the actors have great camaraderie together creating a warm environment you wish you could join!
You can still check out the crew of TAKEAWAY at The Blue Room Theatre until 25th February 2023. TICKETS
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The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.