SLAM. Rich Creative presents Rat in a Box, by Abe Buckoke, a millennial take on the classic Cinderella tale, and a theatrical critique on our world of ‘things.’ We follow Edwina as she picks on, teases and rips off Cindy, a displaced northerner who ends up living in her cellar, Nigel, a nerdy boy who takes the sofa, and Greta, her sometimes friend who takes the only other actual room in Edwina’s house. We then follow through Edwinas eyes as Cindy meets her Prince Charming and chaos ensues.
In fact chaos is an apt phrase, as there are so many storylines, all given time and weight, which have been wonderfully directed by Andy Patterson. These have been fleshed out since the play’s debut performance, making for a slightly more confused, but wonderfully charged play by Abe Buckoke, who’s voice will echo with any ‘millennial.’
Elle Banstead-Salim shrieks, stomps and delights in the role of Edwina who meets her match in the guise of Northerner Cindy, played by the charming Annabelle Rich. Both women serve their characters well, with solid and enjoyable performances. Anthony Foster plays Richard, Cindy’s ‘Prince Charming.’ He gives an ernest performance, but does not seem to have found the comfort that his costars have on stage.
James Messer wins us over with his awkward, nerdy performance as Nigel. He deserves a special mention for his performance of Slam poetry as he tries to win Greta’s affection, which he performed well, even if the scene did not earn it. James McClellan matches him with two very crazy characters who prove as mad as the other, and are delightfully funny to watch.
Emily Wyndham played Greta, Edwina’s roommate. She gave a fantastic performance, playing off her costars brilliantly and giving a fabulous, powerful performance when Greta is faced with both with Nigel and Derek fighting over her.
In general the sound and lighting team serve the show brilliantly – the lighting enhances the mood of every scene and the music is jolting and fun. Both Siri and an earlier use of voiceover with Greta alone waiting for her date just didn’t come across and were too garbled to understand. The actors played well enough that we got the gist though and kept the show moving.
The play was in safe hands with Emma Uden who has updated the movement from the play’s debut performance, making it slick and more meaningful. The excellent ‘rat scene’ serves as slow-mo comedy gold!