Media Release & Reviews
Binka Boo Productions
Review by Nikki Gaertner
Writer Jennifer Lusk and director Joh Hartog have put together an original script dealing with the stressful nature of shopping and trying on clothes in an up-market department store — especially when the security alarm locks everyone in.
An array of characters are stranded in the fitting room, including a repressed shop attendant (Robynne Kelly), an expectant mother (Joanne Hartstone), a paranoid upper-class shopper (Jessica Beck), an overstressed lawyer (Jacqueline Cook), a shopaholic (Lusk), and a naughty couple who thought theyd found a great place to hide (Rohan Harry and Rosie Denny).
Needless to say, in the stress of the situation, tempers flare and boil over as all of the characters lock horns. Various issues are brought forward including class distinctions, racism and shop lifting.
This is quite an entertaining little show, with a balanced cast all delivering their characters with great enthusiasm.
Those wanting to see an enjoyable comic play performed, as opposed to some of the various other genres available during the Fringe, should head to the Pillar Room for this offering.
Rating: 3½ out of 5
Just like detention
FITTING ROOMS: Binka Boo Productions
Pillar Room, Masonic Centre, North Tce, Adelaide
WHEN the security doors lock shut in the Marks and Noble variety store, seven people are trapped in the ladies’ fitting rooms.
In this original short play by Jennifer Lusk staged in the intimate, 60-seat Pillar Room theatre nobody knows exactly what the security emergency is. An inane voice making spasmodic announcements over the PA system will not explain, and the part-time shop assistant is too concerned with sticking to the rules to find out.
The archetypical characters of the six women and one bloke begin to unfold under the pressure of being in an enclosed space not knowing what is going on. Joining the shop assistant is a lawyer, expecting mother, prissy worrier, angry revolutionary and two lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other.
The premise provides a vehicle for Lusk to explore topical issues such as refugees, Western consumerism and class division. Although there are some flat spots, Fitting Rooms is a thought-provoking and, at times funny, journey through some of the problems and absurdities facing modern Australian life.
Although the detention of refugees is just one of many topics breached, you can't help thinking this is the main thrust of the work. After all, a group of middle class Aussie shoppers stuck in a small room not knowing when they are going to be released is hauntingly metaphoric.
Binka Boo Productions
Gasworks Arts Park
Review by Colin Flaherty
It’s a ordinary day in the fitting rooms of the upmarket department store ‟Marks and Noble”. As a result of an unexplained emergency, the area is sealed off by fire doors for an extended time. This is the situation faced by seven people in the play Fitting Rooms.
Quite a diverse group of characters inhabited these fitting rooms. We had the perky attendant who did whatever it took to enforce every single store policy, even under these extreme circumstances. Theres the argumentative woman who questioned everything and suspected everyone. A ‟pregnant” woman who tried to keep a level head, taking the motherly role while the others freaked out. Theres the ridiculously naïve socialite who jumps at her own shadow. A lawyer who approached the situation in a systematic way, collecting evidence to build a legal case against the store. Also thrown into the mix was a perpetually horny couple who had snuck into a cubical for a quick shag.
At first glance the characters appeared to have been derived from stereotypes, with their dialogue and actions easily identifiable. It was good to see that each character was fleshed out to some degree as their back story was revealed through their interaction with the others. Each one exposed another side to their personality that often deviated from your initial impression of them. This device also allowed serious topics to be included in the narrative. The plight of refugees was brought up by the lawyer when she mentioned a pro-bono case, Islamic terrorists was mentioned with alarming regularity by the Socialite and the recent industrial reforms came up when the attendant vented her spleen.
The majority of the dialogue directly resulted from the clashing of personalities, resulting in some quite humorous exchanges between them. Surprisingly the comedian of the cast, Adelaide Stand Up regular Rohan Harry, didnt get a lot of funny lines. He instead played it rather straight, leaving a lot of the best lines to the others. The source of many an amusing line was the periodic announcements over the PA system. Using a plethora of inane Retail Speak and voiced in an overly condescending tone, these effectively ignored the lock down by pretending that the store was trading normally. I suppose a captive audience is indeed a retailers dream!
Save for a couple of moments in the play, it was a carefully orchestrated shouting match between the various characters where every line could be clearly heard. Although just like in real life, it finally descended into a chaotic din as the play reached its climax. The script was punchy, progressed at a comfortable pace and had the perfect mix of snappy one liners and serious dramatic dialogue. All the cast portrayed their characters perfectly.
The intimate audience was immediately plunged into the story with barely enough time to get comfortable in their seats. My only complaint was that the ending to the play was rather abrupt, offering little resolution to the events that had occurred over the hour. Apart from a few quick exchanges between the characters as they left, each one simply re-entered the outside world to continue their life. We never did find out what the emergency actually was!
‟Fitting Rooms” was a highly enjoyable play that not only took pot shots at the retail industry, big business and consumers but also explored a number of social issues. The fact that it employed a decent amount of humour to do so makes it a show that provided plenty of smiles and laughs.