It’s a short journey [by Matt Baker]
With the Sky Tower prominent in their backdrop, the rear windows of St Kevin’s Arcade next to Alleluya are an appropriate performance space for this apocalyptic piece set in a central Auckland flat. Written and directed by, and starring Lucia Farron-Diamantis, Lewis Gregory, and Lana Mackintosh, collectively known as Three Queens, the writing does offer three-dimensional characters and introduces nice subtleties in their respective relationships, although the actual plot is given far less attention. With the entire first half of the show spent on said characters’ introductions, who rightly reveal more about themselves in the way they talk about others, the remaining 25-30 minutes is broken into a series of inconsequential vignettes, death’s inevitable approach, and a prolonged movie-style ending which these ill-fated characters mumble through amongst themselves.
Overall, the performances are quite well pitched. Toby Goode starts off with a nicely understated portrayal of a gay food connoisseur and neat freak, but eventually relents to odd dainty outbursts complete with ‘girlfriend’ vocals. Tom Crosson has an innate nice guy quality, but his chemistry and physical comfort with Farron-Diamantis is awkward at best. Farron-Diamantis herself gives an overly stereotypical portrayal, with a costume that clashes with her character’s supposed Karen Walker saleswoman position. Mackintosh delivers with a cadence that perfectly corresponds with her character’s thought processes and intrinsic persona. Gregory has the most to play and finds a great amount of affability as a philosophical pothead with father issues. Death itself is personified by Nicola Ritchie and Olivia Shaw. Although, due to the use of billowing orange material, perhaps meteorite would have been a more appropriate billing. This dance interpretation of death is a massive juxtaposition to the rest of the play, but adds nothing of its own, and ultimately breaks the style of the piece.
The premise of Darling, Today We’re Going To Die has a lot of potential, but none of it is realised. There is a brief moment of conflict, which dissipates in seconds, but other than that, nothing seems to be driving the story of this group of people. The apocalypse itself is introduced to the audience via radio bites, but there is no moment on stage of these characters registering the fact. They simply refer to it nonchalantly. Drama is created by conflict, and even a one-hour show needs more than a few minutes spent on it.
Darling, Today We’re Going To Die was presented by Three Queens and played as part of Auckland Fringe 28 Feb – 1 March. Details see Auckland Fringe.