Mixed performances and an unsubtle script leave Fast a little unsatisfying as it never allows itself to elaborate on the themes established without being painfully obvious. Fast never really gets off the ground in this slightly unengaging, confused story about manipulation and coercion.
Kate Barton’s underwhelming narrative follows two women, Dora (Natasha Cowley) and Clarie (Jordon Stevens), who sign into a sanitorium in which the infamous Linda Hazzard (Caroline Lawrie) and are oppressively forced to fast. Alongside this runs the story of a stubborn reporter attempting to bring Hazzard down. However, the poor pacing and inconsistent tone prevents Kate Valentine from getting her teeth into the themes which are tentatively hinted at.
Granted, there is the occasional exploration of knowing and not knowing, manipulation and the patriarchal gaze, however this is often so clearly sign-posted that it is often unfortunately in danger of losing the effect.
This is compounded by a cartoonish charactirisation of Lawrie’s Linda Hazzard and while this could be a perceptive point on the male gaze of women who do not conform, this is never really touched upon. Furthermore, the almost comedic presentation of a sinister woman who controls the light and dark feels off tone and undermines any dramatic tension created.
Performances are consistently mixed, Cowley is compelling as the skeptical elder sister, however Stevens naïve younger sister feels one dimensional and lacks believability. Lawrie feels out of place as a convincingly cartoonish, ridiculous melodramatic villain, and while this works in its own right, this contributes to a tonally confusing performance. Overall, a lack of chemistry between actors doesn’t allow us to engage or care about the characters.
On the other hand, the lighting design is interestingly explorative and the control of what we can and can’t see is compelling, an interesting set makes for a well thought out aesthetic. Fast lacks a lot, and confusingly never develops on the themes it sets up. 2/5
Review written by Charlie Froy.
Fast is currently showing until Saturday 9th November 2019 at the Park Theatre. To find out motor about the production, visit here…
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