Presented by five.point.one
Reviewed 15 February 2016
The Last Time I Saw Richard by Cat Commander charts the relationship of two lovers through a series of vignettes representing their irregular meetings over a period of several years. Charles Mayer as Richard and Elizabeth Hay as April work their way through Commander’s dialogue-driven script to explore ideas of relationships, love and fidelity. Unfortunately the story keeps dropping hints of a greater moral to come but fails to deliver at the show’s climax.
The structure of the show is clever as each tiny portion of the character’s relationship is slowly revealed over a multitude of scenes. Commander’s dialogue is natural and evocative, with both of the characters having a clearly defined voice. April and Richard are rich and complex making them endearing and easy to sympathise with. The balance between comedy and drama is good which helps keep the production moving. Direction from Craig Behenna is strong but a few sections, particularly transitions between scenes, could be tightened. A few awkward choices during the first few scene changes also detract from the overall experience.
The linchpin of this production is undeniably its two actors who carry off the material with confidence and naturalism. Both manage the dialogue well and successfully gloss over flubbed lines, so much so that it wasn’t clear if this was deliberate or not. Mayer took a few scenes to find his feet with an inconsistent accent and odd comic timing but these problems very quickly disappear. Hay and Mayer have a fantastic chemistry and develop nicely together throughout the show.
This productions largest issue is the flow of the story and the overall plot arc. Throughout the show the audience discovers more and more about these characters as they grow and develop around their recurring, but fleeting, relationship. There is, however, very little true conflict as outside forces don’t seem to affect their lives together. In the end, there is the expectation for some kind of moral or conclusion and the play simply ends, almost abruptly. This is somewhat unsatisfying and seems to offset the high quality of all other areas.
Overall the production elements of this show are of a very high standard and the performances are well worth seeing. Unfortunately, the absence of a goal makes the show drag and mars the overall positive experience.
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Rating (out of 5): 3.5
Venue: Bakehouse Theatre
Season: 15 February – 274 February
Duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Tickets: $16.50 – $28
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)