Review by Kathryn Thomas
The opening night buzz fills the foyer of the Old 505 in Newtown, for the premiere of Crashing Water Theatre Company’s production of Spike Heels by Theresa Rebeck. Thespians of all ages and cultures often flee to a premier show, especially during fringe, and this energy was definitely present tonight.
Crashing Water Theatre Company is a Sydney based theatre company, conceived in 2019, with the intention of telling compelling stories and performing prolific theatre.
Spike Heels as a text has a lot of tropes of a classic comedy play, with feisty character nuances, sexual tensions and an underlying message. Spike Heels focuses heavily on sexual misconduct within the corporate world, with the classic “boss and secretary” dynamic at play. This is an important message, and is as relevant as ever, which Spike Heels touches on aggressively but effectively.
Walking into the theatre of this production, you are welcomed with a minimalist space, against a white backdrop. Kudos to the designer who found such historically (90s) accurate props and set pieces. As the show started, I was disappointed to find that nothing was done with the stark, white background, the set ended up feeling sterile and unwelcoming, which is unfortunate as the dialogue sets up a cosy, NYC apartment vibe. The lighting was also unapologetic against the set, with minimal versatility. It is a shame, especially knowing how adaptable this space is.
Keeping the knowledge that this is the opening night of this production, some aspects of the performance are rickety. Serhat Caradee, the director, has clearly done a lot of work with his cast on developing their chemistry on stage. However, as strong as some of these performers are, the brands of American accents used are all over the place, which I do respect can be put down to nerves. But, with a production as americana as this, the accents are an integral part to keep the audience in the universe of the play. The pacing of this production was also a bit off, with a play that is so dialogue heavy, in a single space, the flow needs to be charging to keep the content consumable. The dialogue itself is draggy, but it is unfortunate that this production did not take this in its stride and adapt accordingly.
Jessica Saras as Georgie, is a stand out, she is fiery, lovable and jaded. Antony Press as Andrew is calm and collected, his portrayal was at times quite passive and might benefit from some more light and shade. Joshua Horwitz as Edward threw me back to a 90s fantasy of Boston Legal, he is a strong performer with gravitas and presence. Kate Hardy as Lydia was an important addition to this cast, bringing a well-rounded and well thought out portrayal of Lydia.
Overall this production has legs, with some great performances, however it feels rushed and underdeveloped at times. I love the message of this play and the aims and message of this theatre company, so I am excited to see how they grow and develop in the future.