My first impression of Affair Play was admiration for the fantastic set. The sparsely decorated stage is set up as a kitchen and living room, with all props and furniture made from or coloured the same, bland, cardboard shade of brown. This first gives the impression of making the characters pop, standing out as vibrant to the audience, until another sneaky meaning crawls in towards the end. We’ll get to that though.
Affair Play is written by Sam Floyd, who also stars as the arrogant, alpha male with a slick, unlikeable personality, coming off as cocky and self-assured, absolutely perfect for the role. If this play were to have a villain, his character would slide into that slot perfectly. In comparison Remy Coll is opposite, portraying the beta male, always happy to please but underachieving and seemingly useless to his wife, portrayed by Lucy Norton.
From the beginning, Affair Play is filled with tension and an almost longing that resonates between every character. From the title of the play you can easily assume it’s to be based around the idea of adultery and that there would be a clear sexual tension between characters. This is true, however the small cast of this performance brilliantly expand on the tension by having it fully present and awkwardly settling between the two male leads, two characters that clearly have very little in common.
Norton owns her role with a portrayal of a high strung, in command woman that many can identify with. Again, in a polar opposite there is Anthea Greco, the more feminine figure that appears meeker and submissive.
From the beginning, it’s obvious that these characters are in the wrong relationships. Further on however, it occurs that possibly every individual on the stage is simply selfish, wanting something different to what they’ve lived with for so long. This shows in the frustration each character displays with their respective partners, their conversation and intimacy flowing more easily with each other’s wives or husbands.
The bland, cardboard brown of the set clicks towards the end of the performance. Despite the cardboard table representing a table, the cardboard fridge opening and containing food, and the sharpied on vases containing a flower, everything upon the stage is fake. Including the characters. They’re pretending to be something else, the perfect husband, the perfect wife, or a good friend.
A fantastic way to spend an hour if you’re in Brunswick one night this week, Affair Play navigates humour and drama with an expert ease, drawing the audience into the plot and leaving them disappointed when it comes to an end.
Affair Play is showing at Brunswick Mechanics Institute until the 18th of December. Tickets can purchased at: www.freshlygroundtheatre.com