The Lucas Conundrum, directed by Ashley Tardy, is a cleverly written production, the short hour that it encompasses showcasing the shallow and money hungry layering of Hollywood filmmaking. The stage is sparse, decorated with just a couch and the makings of a hotel room. The cast also is small, only four actors grace the stage, but their enigmatic presence is enough to satisfy.
The play itself, written by Gabriel Bergmoser, is heavily dialogue driven, the story never leaving the hotel room. The premise is that Robert Stone, a famous fantasy director has returned to create a new instalment in his saga, the dilemma occurs when a young fan of the saga wishes to see the film before he passes away from cancer. The production chronicles the struggle between Stone, the director and Freddie, the producer about what action to take regarding the young boy.
Greg Caine is in the role of Robert Stone, the director of the fantasy saga. Caine fills the stage with a presence that is remarkably alike to Michael Keaton in Birdman. His rage filled rant on Star Wars, a reoccurring theme that attributes to the title of the play, is particularly good, the rabble of a self-proclaimed genius that has a fear of disappointing his fans. A rant that George Lucas himself has probably gone on at numerous times. The air of pretentiousness that Caine brings to the part can be summed up form the line of, “I’m an artist, I don’t compromise.”
Alicia Beckhurst portrays Robert’s ‘girlfriend’, Hayley. A young girl that is the current interest of the director, Beckhurst plays the ditzy, valley-like character well. Her portrayal is energetic and excitable, a character that is delighted by drama and the idea of being in the spotlight. She had some of the best lines of the production, and brought a large amount of laughs with her delivery of lines like “Cathy Bates is really good at crazy eyes”.
The only disappointment was from Angelique Malcolm, in the role of Amy, Robert’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Not that Malcolm was bad, just that she lacked the same presence that the rest of the cast brought to the stage. I was excited when the others spoke, hanging for the next lines and to see the conclusion. The appearance of Malcolm didn’t bring about that reaction from me. This may have been, however, from the role itself. Amy’s character wasn’t intended to be large or dramatic, she was intended to calm over the situation and bring about a sense of completion.
Chris Grant plays the producer of the movie, the camp and over the top Freddie. Who, arguably, is the best character of the show. His earnest encouragement to Robert to allow the dying fan to view the film is cut short by his angry outburst at Robert when the director argues with him. Both Grant and Caine play brilliantly off each other, complimenting each other’s styles smoothly.
The Lucas Conundrum is a must for those that enjoy filling message boards with anger when a writer or director ruins a childhood favourite. Or for those that consider themselves artists and above pleasing people. Either way, the show is fantastic with a cast that play out the well-written script superbly.
The Lucas Conundrum is playing at Club Voltaire from the 16th to the 27th of February.