Daniel Hunter and Sylvia Keays play two young, attractive single people, Neil and Veronica, who meet at a party and have a hot night of sex together at Veronica’s apartment (impressive set design by Rachel Scane). The play starts with them waking up the morning after, feeling great and still wanting more action. Maybe this could be the start of something beautiful, the relationship that both have been looking for?!
Not bloody likely- as George Bernard Shaw would have said- after the sexy strangers start finding out a bit about each other. Veronica jumps out of bed, apologising to Neil…she can’t lie in…she’s got an audition to go to… for the role of Lady Macbeth. Neil starts to mock her, he can’t stand actors and hates the theatre. Veronica is aghast. She then asks Neil what does he do. ‘I’m an astronaut’, he retorts. His answer throws Veronica..puts seeds of doubt into her mind…have I just spent the night with a loopy guy?! A match made in sexual heaven looks set for a short life span on planet earth.
No, the playwright does not end up delivering a variation of the ‘Looking for Mr Goodbar’ scenario…We end up with a complicated, intense play, delving into the difficult lives young people lead these days. Gilchrist throws into the plot mix, Veronica’s flatmate, critical curse, Claudia, played by Alyssan Russell, and her boyfriend, Justin, performed by Stephen Wilkinson, who just happens to have known Neil from high school days.
Gilchrist helms the play himself. The show plays straight through and the cast perform well.
My verdict. I wanted to like ROCKET MAN more. The narrative felt like it petered off, with the black-out being a little welcome. Maybe as a short, sharp piece this play would have worked better. The one level in which ROCKET MAN worked well was as a dialogue, a debate, about theatre…the importance of…the relevance…the craft…There was humour..insight…insider references…perhaps a few of the jokes a little too snide and self indulgent.
Subtlenuance’s production of Paul Gilchrist’s ROCKET MAN opened at the Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst on Thursday July 4 and runs until Sunday July 14, 2013.