David Calvitto and Beth Fitzgerald, have both been here in past years, offering magnificent performances, but they have never had the chance to work together before. They are a perfect pairing in this fast paced and witty piece, written by Brian Parks, who also wrote American Poodle, a past CIT offering. The sharp eye of director Guy Masterson, ensures that this productions sparkles with the wit, and that the underlying meaning is carefully withheld until the appropriate moment.
A rumble of thunder in the darkness begins the performance. The lights come up on a stylish couple. To the sound of the Benny Goodman Orchestra on the radiogram, followed shortly after by his quartet, thereby placing us firmly in the 1930s, we see an elegantly dressed couple, although the hem of her cocktail dress and the hems of the trousers and cuffs and bottom of the jacket of his dinner suit are all somewhat singed and soiled. It transpires that they are expecting somebody for cocktails, and begin brewing a few for themselves. As it progresses we discover that the ensuing verbal intercourse is both alcoholically fuelled, and centred. The title is that of a whiskey based cocktail, also known as a Whiskey Fizz, and The Man spends a lot of his time at the drinks trolley, brewing assorted concoctions. The title also alludes to the effervescent conversation that is to follow.
Their evening begins innocuously enough, as they share a drink or two and engage in sparkling banter, but there is a flicker of the lights and the radio is reduced to static. They begin to analyse their marriage by means of a mock trial, interrogating one another and calling on witnesses, whom they play. The dialogue is filled with puns, reworking of well-known proverbs and sayings, and a few platitudes. This all gives rise to considerable laughter.
Calvitto and Fitzgerald are electric and exhibit a great rapport as the couple that, for all of their recriminations, are clearly unable to live without each other. The repartee hides a concern that occasionally surfaces, The Woman worrying that everything might not be ready for the awaited guest, on which, it seems, much depends. The guest, it seems, is a regular visitor but we get the idea that the past visits have not gone well a she insists that they must be ready, and get it right this time.
Drawing on Jean Paul Sartre's Huis Clos (In Camera/No Exit), with a hint of Groundhog Day, a touch of Oscar Wilde and a smattering on dialogue reminiscent of the hilarious pie song, Stick to Priest, from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, the script touches many bases and provides a wealth of opportunity for the performers.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this tale and Calvitto and Fitzgerald do not waste a word of this rapid fire tongue twister of a script. It is a treat to hear such superb diction. They shine like diamonds glittering in each other's light, their characters growing in complexity as the conversation gradually reveals more and more about them, their privileged past, and their current situation. It has taken a long time for these two performers to get together in a production, but it was well worth the wait and, hopefully, will lead to other collaborations.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: Higher Ground, 9-15 Light Square, Adelaide
Season: To 18th March 2012
Tickets: $21 to $24
Bookings: FringeTix 1300-FRINGE (1300 374 643), FringeTix outlets, or online