Review by Tatum Stafford
It’s always a treat to watch a talented writer-performer in action, and Cezera Critti Schnaars gave such a beautiful, nuanced, and heart-warming performance in her latest play, ‘Salted Pretzels’, which has just opened at The Blue Room.
‘Salted Pretzels’ charts a familiar scene. Dom (Cezera Critti Schnaars) is on a date with Cassius (Tristan McInnes), who she met on an app. However, sitting at the next table over is Dom’s best friend Ash (Oliver Hughes), who is having dinner with James (Ray Teakle), who has a fair bit of history with Dom’s date. Throw in a bystander bartender (Maitland Schnaars) who drops into intimate moments to offer bowls of salted pretzels and you’ve got a hilarious and snappy rom com with plenty of charm.
First up, Cezera’s writing is such a delight to watch. Dialogue is fast, funny, and sentimental without delving into sappiness. There are pop cultural references, puns, and very cleverly mapped out characters with detailed backstories that are revealed to the audience as the show powers forward. The show’s title is emphasised by a few characters in descriptive metaphors; one of which was really simple and touching (expect a physical ‘straight’ versus ‘bent’ pretzel gag), and one which did feel a bit overbaked.
Every actor in the show is turning in a fantastic and charismatic performance. Cezera is layered, funny and magnetic as protagonist Dom, and she is matched by Oliver Hughes’ funny Ash. Tristan McInnes is a standout as Cassius (his facial expressions in bigger group scenes were hilarious to catch), and Ray Teakle is suitably sweet and supportive as James. Maitland Schnaars nailed his scene-stealing moments as the Waiter and was the perfect addition to this group of odd couples.
I really enjoyed the set by Charli Strickland, which utilised stereotypically funky bar furniture and also included interesting wall décor. Emily McLean’s direction ensured a clean and tight flow between conversations, and lighting by Jolene Whibley was humorously utilised to punctuate dialogue and set a romantic mood throughout the piece.
This is a really charming show that rom-com fans will fall head over heels for. Congratulations to the entire team – I’d encourage you to snap up a ticket and grab a delicious pretzel from the container outside pre or post show.