Review by Olivia Ruggiero
Cassie Hamilton’s deeply disturbed black comedy “Daddy Developed A Pill” opened at KXT on Saturday 11th of June to a full house. 95 minutes of sex, sins, debauchery, sheer madness and questionable choices flew by in Hamilton’s quick witted, shockingly accurate and uncomfortably real play. This play is certainly not for everyone (particularly if you’re someone uptight, homophobic or lacking a sense of humour) but if you can appreciate the whacky, weird and wonderful you may just find yourself having a raucous time.
Hamilton’s words are sharp and beautifully penned. Her choice of language specific and clever, showing off her vast vocabulary and rapier intelligence. There’s not much wrong with Hamilton’s script and I certainly look forward to seeing whatever insanity she produces next. The set is psychedelic pink, with 3 reflective doors, complete with a shimmering curtain of shiny streamers and a fluffy chaise. It screams 70’s and lends itself well to the world of free love, adultery, drugs and loose morals that L.J Wilson so deftly builds. It is a brilliant use of the flexible space at KXT which transforms so well when decorated with flair and expertise. Lighting by Jesse Greig is bold and unashamedly flamboyant. With greens, blues, reds and pinks painting the work, Greig’s work perfectly encapsulates the vibe.
L.J Wilson demonstrates an ability not only to direct with great skill but also choreograph. The blocking is excellent, a masterclass in physical comedy. The staging really works in what can be an awkward transverse space and everything lands well. Wilson’s certainly a director to watch as they direct with understanding, nuance and complexity – it is a joy to watch.
Sarah Greenwood is Cynthia, the desperate try-hard, so anxious to live up to Daddy’s expectations. She is dysfunctional, adulterous and may have just murdered her best friend through a forced OD of Daddy’s drugs. Despite all of these less than appealing traits, Greenwood manages to make Cynthia so relatable and almost likeable. She is intoxicating to watch and moves with such grace and ease as though she were living these experiences and not just acting them.
Jack Francis West is beyond hilarious and nimbly moves between his roles with excellent comedic timing and brilliant vocal dexterity. It’s genuinely lovely to watch an actor so comfortable in his field, having so much fun and doing it so very well.
Clay Crighton is the standout giving a performance that will stay with me for a long time. The physicality and energy Crighton brings to every single different role is beyond words. You must simply buy a ticket to see for yourself – sheer excellence and nothing less. From aunties, to jocks, to lesbian lovers – Crighton gives an award worthy performance. I would go back just to see it again and again and again.
This new Australian play tackles an intricate and age-old problem - trying to please your parents (and how close the apple really can fall from the tree). It’s quirky and absurdist view may seem incredibly dysfunctional, but the events are actually entirely plausible. A terrifying thought to be sure. Daddy Developed A Pill has been cleverly crafted and expertly handled by Hamilton and team. Grab your ticket for some awkward laughs and a crippling sense of dread.