Limelight on Oxford until April 27
Written and Directed by Michael Becker and Ian Warwick
Photographs Sam Lax
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
As the result of working for a charity in a shopping mall in Los Angeles, Michael Becker came up with the ideas for his new play.
How to Change the World and Make Bank Doing It is set in a Sydney shopping mall, and Marcus (Michael Becker) supervises a team of twenty-something women who, even though they’re doing the same work, have diverse personalities and motivations.
The opening line is Eve (Barbara Papathanasopoulos) asking Lucia (Dominique Purdue), “Do you ever get soulmate FOMO?”, which indicates the banality of the conversations in the times between pitching to the passing punters.
Eve is a lost soul whose heart isn’t in the job and Lucia is a pushy vegan who believes that everyone in the world should be like her. Enter Chloe (Skye Beker) whose political strategies shake up the status quo.
Low-level sexual tension is provided by Nico (Jarryd Dobson) and I’m not sure if Dobson self-directed his role. It stands out because of his contrasting extreme physicality, and I checked the programme to find out if he’d studied mime.
The various “marks” are played by Laneikka Denne, Susan Jordan and Dashiell Wyndham. All performances are strong.
The writer/directors have extensive experience in performing and directing but nothing in the credits mentioned script-writing. This production is a series of vignettes based on real occurrences that we all identify. In the end, it’s a play about stereotypes.
Given the fine casting and focus on the moments, there are no diversions. You come to expect surprising plot twists and you know exactly when the ends of the acts occur. In this one, if it wasn’t for the enthusiastic applause and cheering from the opening night audience members who were involved in the production, we wouldn’t have known when the the two acts concluded. It’s a show without climaxes.
That stated, you will identify all of the characters in How to Change the World and Make Bank Doing It and you’ll put yourself in the role of the shoppers approached by the charity workers.