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September 28, 2009 | by  | in Theatre |
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Postal

theatre

You know that job you have where your boss forgets your name, encourages you to have more energy at work and tells you to smile throughout your entire shift? Yeah, that’s this play.

Postal tells the story of three Post Office workers: Fanti the overly cheerful Sri Lankan boss (Rashmi Pilaptiya); the neurotic woman working a job she hates who is constantly mistakenly called Fiona (Heather O’Carroll); Michael the weird, quiet guy at work that could secretly be a serial killer (Simon Smith); and Celine, the pre-op transexual (Paul Harrop). While these are all pretty standard comic characters, Lucy O’Brien’s script fleshes them out into believable human beings who all have their own hopes, dreams and tragedies as well as being incredibly funny.

The actors all bring a lot to their characters and work the comedy of the script very well. If forced to pick a favourite I would have to say that Smith’s performance as the stamp-collecting possible psycho (complete with well-placed David Bain jersey) stood out, with excellently hilarious drunk acting and many perfectly placed lines.

Hannah Smith’s design accurately reflects that horrible workplace everyone has worked in at some point, featuring cheap Christmas decorations (tinsel and a poorly decorated fake tree) and tacky plastic outdoor chairs in place of office chairs as well as a post office counter that rotated to reveal the cupboards and bench of a kitchen.

My only gripe with Postal was that there were a couple of exchanges where characters spoke alternating lines of their own speeches while in conversation with each other (that thing they do on Grey’s Anatomy all the time, technical term: Stychomythia) that were just awkward and hard to follow, which was probably a fault of the script rather than one of the production.

Overall, Postal achieved what it set out to do; it made me laugh while also displaying the more personal and private side of a number of characters usually taken at face value (both in dramatised form and in real life). The script doesn’t rely on easy jokes, which is something you’d expect a play featuring a transexual character to do. Instead, it uses wit and intelligence to give a more in-depth and real view of a number of stock characters in a situation we can all relate to.

Postal
Written by Lucy O’Brien
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
With Heather O’Carroll, Simon Smith, Rashmi Pilapitiya and Paul Harrop
At BATS, 6.30pm, 22 Sept—3 Oct 2009 (no shows Son/Mon)
$18/$13,
book@bats.co.nz

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