In the writer/director Bruce Hoogendoorn’s own words, “what if, the government had no money to hand out during a recession? What would we do then? Team up the shopping addicts and the tax avoiders and set them loose in the CBD!”
And that is pretty much this play’s narrative. Pertinent too, because our spending levels simply cannot keep increasing exponentially. The material smartly plays with the narcotic effect of shopping and acquiring. But just who is doing the persuading if the government is no longer handing out the dosh? Well that would be the private business councils working specifically for small business owners, targeting individuals and making sure that every unnecessary object and ugly tie is still bought in the pursuit of personal and collective happiness.
The play ticks all the boxes for sound playwriting and manages to be quite pacy and amusing. It’s curious that this is the first time Hoogendoorn has directed his own work and I think he’s generally done a good job. The tone of the piece was well played across the cast (Rob de Fries, Elaine Noon, K.B and Brendan Kelly) and they conveyed the humour and themes with confidence. Most impressive was Brendan Kelly who has been working the traps and training hard and its paying off for him with this performance.
The set design and sound design by Wayne Shepherd was the weakest link in this production; it felt a bit like it was thrown together at the last minute, and the choice of musical interludes during scene changes were odd and distracting. The production team is completed by Kelly McGannon as Lighting Designer and Miriam Miley–Read as Costume Designer.