Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
‘Fix’ is a play by ‘Worklight’ production company that started out life as a vehicle for highlighting the darker problems of addiction and drug abuse. When the doors open at its Underbelly venue, wone is guided into a room, an unexpectedly charming space with a very prominent stage already set for capturing us in our suspensions of disbelief. The three performing artists were positioned triangularly on boxes; the kind that you could tap on for a drum beat. They were playing chords on the guitar over and over, slow and melodic. We took our places on seats arranged around three sides of the stage, creating an aura of intimacy which took hold even before the action began. The darkened room was lit with blue and green spotlights that illuminated the back wall. The lights dimmed to darkness as the play began.
I found a great resonant sincerity in the way the actors shunned extravagant costumes in favour of casual clothing. The simplicity of this meant that the focus was on the performance rather than any gimmick or other extraneous irrelevance. From the trio, a focussed emotional dialogue began to expand in many ways; from heart-warming and loving wisdom, to telling a story about the active pains of addiction and its part in the world. A great many themes were explored throughout, aligning with the play’s subject, & circling around the contrast of bonds within brains and the bonds between brains. A smart example was given in one of the play’s first songs, dedicated to the natural stimulant dopamine that depicted the chemical sense of elation within the mind under its influence. Another early scene was a guide to issues of separation caused by addiction and neatly highlighted the chemical processes of the side-effects of drug use. Moments such as these elegantly illustrated and explained the life of the addict.
Worklight’s creation offers us examples of the feeling of love which comes from the heart, and yet in the end all this is in reality is a chemical response forged in the brain. The story was told with much accomplishment by three, very hard working actors; Fiona Whitelaw, Rianna Dearden and Finlay Cormack – both together and separately – in well-paced dialogue. The hard-hitting adult material gripped in a number of ways and was especially effective in the confines of the small stage, where softly spoken words created an incredible sense of intimacy. Among the impressive assemblage of scenarios, all cleverly knitted together, one very poignant scene stands out. This was a conversation held between the actor looking out to face the audience but sitting with an imaginary counter-part in front of her. The spotlight held her face as she engaged in a compelling conversation which held the audience enthralled.
Fix offers excellent and extremely thought provoking entertainment, though one needs an open heart to enjoy its fineries, & is delivered through a myriad of light, sound and dialogue. In the process, we are encouraged to peer deep into the soul and join in the debate on what it is to be human.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly