If anything will put you off working at a fast-food outlet, look no further than Red Stitch’s latest production.
A world premiere, Fast Food is a comedy concerning a manager, assistant manager and three staff at a burger joint. Think McDonald’s or Hungry Jack’s.
For the manager, Troy (Kevin Hofbauer), a vegetarian, it is all about process … about following hard and fast rules.
Photos by Jodie Hutchinson
He and 17-year-old assistant manager River (Chi Nguyen) have just returned from an executive retreat.
She is trying to put in place one of the things she learned, namely to engage her subordinates by asking questions, but all she manages to do is to irritate the bejesus out of them.
Leonard (Casey Filips) is an old hand at both cleaning and churning out the burgers, but you can hardly say his heart is in it.
G (Isha Menon) too is highly capable, but far more interested in playing video games.
Newcomer Rosemary (Ella Caldwell) is a 44-year-old recent divorcee and mother of two, embarrassed by the position she finds herself in.
The quintet has dreams, fears and insecurities and these are played out.
I am afraid I really struggled with Fast Food, written by Morgan Rose (desert,
I thought the play lacked substance (to me, it was vacuous).
There simply wasn’t enough there to sustain a 110-minute running time without interval.
Further, the whole thing dragged, starting with an elongated opening when nothing was said.
In fact, there were pregnant pauses throughout.
The piece needed tightening and that is where director Bridget Balodis could have stepped in.
The mundane looked and sounded mundane, but why would I want to see or hear that for any more than a few minutes?
Then when the fantasies were brought to life, they weren’t much chop either.
While I was watching, the expression “much ado about nothing” kept popping into my head.
The set amounted to a commercial stainless-steel kitchen, like something you might see at Macca’s, with a tiled floor. Again, very little interest there.
Performance-wise, Casey Filips stood out for me as the cheerless Leonard.
He made the most of his humourless persona.
Still, with the best will in the world, and as a frequent advocate for productions at Red Stitch Theatre, I can’t recommend Fast Food because to me it needs work … and that should start with a rewrite.
It is playing until 5th June, 2022.