The worst thing about this show is that there’s a life-size cardboard cut-out of Robert Pattinson onstage the entire time. The best thing about this show is hard to pick, as there’s much to like.
It’s a sitcom on the surface with more important issues beneath.
This clever play, written by Julie Ford, takes place in a suburban shopping mall where middle-aged Pattinson devotees Cecilia (Leda Hodgson) and Monica (Samantha Ritchie) camp out in the overnight queue for an opportunity to meet their hero at a premiere. There’s something compelling in the fact that these are older women, not the starry-eyed teens you would expect at such an event. Each has a very different reason for seeing him and each fantasises about the moment in a different way. Also in the queue is Rose (Holly Creed), a young woman with plenty of experience camping out at such events, who becomes increasingly unhinged. At first I thought that the identity of the Hollywood star might be interchangeable, providing the opportunity for the heartthrob du jour to be subbed in, but a reason does emerge for the choice of Pattinson.
The script is well constructed, with well drawn characters who have believable relationships and real motivations and conflict. The stakes get higher as the play progresses, especially when the gruff mall security guard (Kevin Varty) tells the women there’s a chance they won’t all make it through to the next stage of the corral for the wristbands needed to access the red carpet. Meanwhile, Cecilia’s husband Lucian (Michael Sheldon) needs her help, but is it enough to make her sacrifice her place in the line? It’s a sitcom on the surface with more important issues beneath. It also questions the way we idolise celebrities as constructed ideals rather than real people.
I love the dry humour in the phone calls between long-married Cecilia and Lucian, but there are other places where this level of sparkling wit could be further applied to the dialogue. Otherwise though, this is a well-realised, thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre with faultless performances from all of the cast, taking us on a wild ride into the world of celebrity obsession.