Stop Kiss is a beautiful script, running two periods of time alongside and within each other, one moving away from the story’s climax and one moving towards it. It takes the audience through the sweet, awkward and enticing relationship that blossoms between the protagonists, Sara (Tamiah Bantum) and Callie (Cass Bainbridge), while at the same time forcing us to witness the devastating impact of one man’s violent reaction to that relationship.
Bantum and Bainbridge grow the relationship beautifully. You can feel the nervous excitement in the two women, as they find themselves falling for each other. Lindy Yeates, as the lifesaving double-role of Mrs Winsley and Nurse, has a lovely stillness about her performance, particularly in her interactions with Callie. James Rosier, as Sara’s ex-boyfriend Peter, carries a confused sorrow that, in the hospital waiting room, reflects the confusion our protagonist is grappling with.
The greatest distraction, for audience and performers alike, was the revolve staging. Rather than using the revolve to minimise the disruption of scene changes, director Byron Bache has chosen to have all costume changes performed on stage, in partial blackout, then have the characters leave the stage, then revolve the set.
I couldn’t help wondering why the costume changes weren’t performed as the set revolved. It would have cut a very long piece (2 hours with no interval) down to a manageable time period. Accents were also a bit of a problem, particularly for the male performers, and felt like they were adding a barrier between the performer and their performance.
On the whole, this is an entertaining show, with some beautiful performance from the two leads. A little more preparation time might make the scene changes and accents less distracting, but it’s worth having a look at this piece.
Director: Byron Bache Featuring: Cazz Bainbridge, Tamiah Bantum, Thomas Kay, James Rosier, Mathew Young, Lindy Yeates Set Design: Nick Casey Costume Design: Nico Wilsdon Lighting Design: Matt Osborn
Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Season continues to 7 February 2015
Bookings: (03) 9415 9819 or online at: www.midsumma.org.au for details
For more information, visit: www.boutiquetheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Tamiah Bantum and Cazz Bainbridge in Stop Kiss – photo by Sarah Walker
Review: Jennifer Piper