Monday, 16 May 2011

I Only Came to Use the Phone

I only came to use the phone; based on several short stories by Gabriel García Márquez’s takes you on a journey of nightmarish proportions.
The soft and spellbinding tones of flamenco guitarist Damien Wright fills the room as we are introduced to Maria, a vivacious Mexican woman whose car has broken down on a bleak and baron highway. Desperate to contact her husband and let him know she will be late she accepts a ride on a ramshackle bus with the promise of being able to use a phone.
Unfortunately for our female lead she is accidently transported to a mental hospital and mistakenly admitted among a throng of new arrivals. Her voice echoes across the stage pointlessly pleading with those around her that ‘she only came to use the phone’. It is over the next 90 minutes that we watch as her unbelievably believable nightmare unfolds.
The play is undeniably a drama but smatterings of humour and romance offer the audience light reliefs. The ensemble cast of Julia Billington, David Hansen, Fayssal Bazzi and director Netta Yashcin are excellent as they change effortlessly between various characters of children, French tourists, prostitutes and fellow inmates. Bazzi, who had less than a week to prepare for the show, is particularly memorable as the murderous matron Herculina.
The standout of the entire play is Annabelle Stephenson who is captivating as the frantic Maria. Stephenson is haunting as the audience watches the once passionate and colourful character fade to nothing more than a mere shadow on stage.
Djore Swallow’s portrayal as Saturno, the jealous and fiery husband of Maria is extremely convincing, so too is their irrefutable chemistry.
The story is brought to life by Charlotte Lanes dilapidated, decrepit set, darkly lit by Rachel Smith.
Yashcin’s ability to not only direct this devastating play but offer an excellent performance as the chilling and foreboding  night matron is one of the many reasons this show is a must see.
Performances run Tuesday – Sunday 8pm.
Reviewed by Morgan Reardon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw the play. It was fantastic! Great writing by Morgan Reardon - she has captured the play beautiful in this review.