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July 31, 2017 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

One Night Only

As the Young and Hungry (Y&H) season approached, I found myself bracing for impact. Y&H is always hit-and-miss with performance, script, tech, and direction, or a combination of all the above. Yet, this is the first year the posters for each of the plays were cohesive and genuinely pleasing to the eye — well done to the publicity team!

To continue on the pleasantly surprised train, I am happy to report that One Night Only by Finnius Teppett worked well under director Stella Reid’s experienced wing. It starts with much energy and zeal, relaxing the audience into a quickly unravelling story with an unfortunate anti-climactic finish, leaving me feeling indifferent despite enjoying many aspects of the play. The show takes place mostly in a boy band’s green room where the truth is revealed to mega-fans M1 and M2, as well as the audience, as to how the four-person group, FourEver, became three.

The show opens on Pauline Ward as Lisa Lubgrub, an over-worked and under-appreciated reporter looking for the “big story” that will propel her into journalistic stardom. It seems as though the plot intended to unravel from her perspective, but she was missing for most of the play and, in all honesty, I almost forgot about Lubgrub. This is unfortunate, as Ward certainly stole the show in the opening moments with her beautiful operatic voice, but this opening almost had me expecting a musical. Bar the opening, a clarinet solo, and a dance battle, there were few musical elements.

The set design by Isadora Lao was clever and functional, both for the actors in terms of creating wings and for the quick turnaround required to set up for the next Y&H show. However, it seemed too dark for a green room, and also too messy. Although the amount of clothes on the stage gives a messy-boys-room-bomb-site look, this doesn’t really make sense if FourEver is nearing the end of their world tour, or considering that most of the clothes were left untouched by the actors. In saying that, the use of shoes as microphones and phones, and socks as business cards, was a clever integration of set into the world of the play. The set also gave us subtle hints of something wicked this way comes, such as the words “no blood sacrifices” above one of the hanging netting, and not-so-subtle hints like the massive pentagram in the middle of the stage floor.

Indeed, something wicked does come in the form of Mimi (Trae Te Wiki), a modern agent of Hell. Te Wiki’s demon was refreshing in the way that her sexuality was not used in her hellishness, and her bubbly apathy and workaholic tendency made me really enjoy having her onstage.

A special choo-choo should go to Ethan Morse. He played the mega-fan M1 and did so genuinely, without drawing from feminine stereotypes. Indeed, the costuming didn’t create the absolute illusion that Morse was a girl, rather it respected the fact that he was a male playing a female, by giving him plaid shorts to wear while M2 (Jacinta Compton) wore a plaid school skirt. Individual character and chorus work was strong, and using the actors’ special talents like singing or clarinet playing within the show was a great touch.

I genuinely enjoyed this show: it’s a fun kick-start to this unpredictable Young and Hungry 2017 season. This show will make you laugh, get spooked, and appreciate the grounding plot twist. All aboard the refreshingly unexpected train to Bats Theatre! Choo-choo!


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