The director, Maggie Scott welcomed me last Thursday night to a delightful little venue, the Craftsman Bar within Balmain’s Exchange Hotel. I took my seat to settle in for ninety odd minutes of something a little different in the arena of comedy.
Rick Cleveland, the writer of this quirky little one-act play, happened to be working at a “mob run comedy club in Ohio”, (shades of “The Sopranos”, a confessed favourite of Maggie’s; she even used the TV show’s theme music). Surprise! He later learns that a couple of his friends are hitmen, convicted of murder. This of course prompts a script about the almost causal tendencies of people with a ‘very specific skill set’!
The script is a little too episodic and we are distracted by a few too many scene changes, which usually consists of rearranging a few chairs. The lighting and music changes needed a bit of tightening. The performance I saw was also marred, and the audience dynamic sabotaged, by a patron who became too demonstrative and irritating in his reactions to the show.
The actors, who were within arm’s reach of this brave rabble rouser, (I wouldn’t have been game!), showed great restraint and managed to keep the flow regardless, much to their credit. Indeed they were very credible as mobsters. It was ironic that, just as in the “Sopranos”, we don’t empathise with any of the characters. But they were all portrayed quite well with stand out performances by Boris Brkic and Andrew Mead. Although it was a big ask of Andrew to play ALL the victims and the audience were expected to ‘jump to conclusions’ a couple of times.
All in all it was a good night. The audience was satisfied and appreciative and I’m sure with a few more performances to tighten cues, and without our irksome interlocutor, it will indeed be a treat!
JERRY + TOM is playing the Craftsman Bar at the Exchange Hotel, 94 Beattie Street, Balmain between the 12th and 16th April and the 27th and 30th April.