‘Playing With Fire’ Review: A Lost Plot With Easily Found Technical Prowess
“Playing with Fire” is an eccentric mixture of all the beloved cult classics people grew up with. The Private Theatre’s campy feel- the loud music, candles, red, flashy lights and comfortable seating arrangement makes one feel as though they just entered a vintage nightclub.
The play, based on August Strindberg’s comedy, is about several crazy love triangles within a family. The characters Kerstin and Knut are at the heart of this triangle, with several of their family members all wanting a piece of each other.
Before the show starts, the actors dance on the stage with each other. Some audience members were even seated on the stage, which seemed like a treat. Little did people know was that the play would not be your typical stage production with one focal point. The play took place all around the theatre. Actors were on balconies, immersed in the crowd and shown on monitors.
All of these aspects made the show technically brilliant. It is obvious how much work, effort and time was put into the production. The monitors set above the seating were perhaps the most unique part. Cameramen and women, propped onto the stairs of the stage, zoomed in on the actors while they recited their dialogue. Live edits projected the scenes onto monitors which gave off a cool, movie feel.
As soon as the show began, heavy strobe lights probed the area in what could only be described as visually annoying. Despite that, the lighting also added to the show’s flamboyancy.
“Playing with Fire” is a classic case of quantity outshining the quality of the production. It confuses the audience with the changing characters and constant straining of the neck to follow the actors around the theatre. While the whole objective of the puzzling storyline is to mirror life’s imminent confusion, most people who attend theatre want to see a show with a stable plot. With all of the technical distractions, the plot is hard to follow and ultimately gets completely lost. From the very beginning, it was hard to understand what the actual story was about and who the characters were.
The lost plot does not ruin the show, but it does hinder what could have been a great production. The show would have been tons better if it had a plot that was easier to understand. Although the high energy and advanced technical workings are the reason why the plot suffered, they do make the show and are enough to win anyone over.
For what it was, the acting was credible. Actor David Rysdahl added charming comedy to the show with his humorous dialogue that seemed to come out of nowhere. Sarah Stephens’ intimate scene with her lover was racy but proficient and tasteful. Sarah Wharton stood out most for her dramatic scenes and projected voice. When she runs around the theatre and begs for her significant other not to leave her, it is powerful and believable. The cast of the show depict real human emotion and life’s every day struggles. They show what it is like giving your all to a person with a wandering eye and the heartache that comes amidst a painful breakup.
It is evident from the start the cast of “Playing with Fire” is full of professionals who truly love their craft.
All in all, “Playing with Fire” is worth seeing since it is in no way your typical theatre experience. You may go in expecting one thing and come out of the play with a new perspective on the great lengths that theatre can go to. The technical parts are at the heart of the play, making the production fun, flirty and sexy.
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