Review: The Buzz
Image: The Bread & Roses Theatre
Kyla - Sassy Clyde
Josh - Andrew Umerah
Nate - Gabriel Cagan
Cordelia - Hannah Duffy
Kyla was once a TV personality.
Now she is the dress hanging on the arm of her celebrity popstar boyfriend.
But when her anti-establishment, squatter brother pays her a surprise visit on the night of the biggest music award ceremony of the year, she is forced to question the life, and lie, she's been living.
The Buzz is about the seduction of fame, overnight celebrity culture and the injustices we disregard in favour of one's own success.
The first thing you notice about the set for this four-hander is that it's almost uniformly white, almost glaringly so - even two of the characters are astonished when they see it too.
The set represents a penthouse apartment inhabited by two celebrities ploughing their trade in the popular music business.
Well, one of them seems to be more of a celebrity than the other.
Kyla and her boyfriend Josh have just returned from an industry awards ceremony.
Though Kyla seems to be the one to concoct both music and lyrics for her boyfriend's musical endeavours, she doesn't actually get much of a look-in in terms of recognition for her work.
She regards herself merely as "Nobody of the year 2018", and it doesn't look like Josh is really going to share his fame with her, even if he relies on her talents for his success.
The brief moments of singing we hear from Josh suggest there's not much talent lurking within this man, even if he has managed to acquire popular fame.
And even he acknowledges that he depends on Kyla to deliver in the writing and composing departments.
Kyla is clearly frustrated with her position - almost literally playing second fiddle to Josh.
Gabriel Cagan (Nate) and Sassy Clyde (Kyla) - photo by Hannah Bragman
Lydia Rynne's play, though, takes a darker and, in some ways, a more interesting turn when Kyla's brother Nate (Gabriel Cagan) fetches-up after an absence of 18 months.
A bluff and at times loud northerner, Nate has none of the celebrity ambitions of his sibling, and as they start to get drunk together with Josh asleep in the bedroom, we find there's an ulterior motive to Nate's sudden and unexpected appearance.
And that introduces not only another character (Hannah Duffy's Cordelia) but a more unsettling and unexpected dimension to the play where we find that Josh not only enjoys being in the glare of the limelight, but is also ready to take advantage of those who want to be touched by it too.
Lydia Rynne's script not only examines the overwhelming pulling-power of celebrity, but links it with a topical, highly relevant issue, neatly injecting it with an inventive twist and providing frequent moments of humour along the way.
And Velenzia Spearpoint's capable direction proves successful in maintaining both the overall momentum as well as realising believable characters in sound, watchable performances all-round.
So, what about the brilliant white set?
My best guess is that Kyla and Josh not only love being in the spotlight when in public, but are so obsessed by it that they've brought the spotlights right into their home too - they, quite literally, live in the glare of glamour, celebrity and notoriety.
I suspect the set is also configured to contrast the clean, untarnished image that those dwelling in the glare of stardom wish to project to their adoring public, but yet are hardly unblemished in terms of their private behaviour.
And even though Sassy Clyde's well-described Kyla seems, at least on one level, to be sensibly grounded, intelligent and talented, the denouement proves she's capable of almost anything to acquire the celebrity status she craves.
Interestingly multi-layered, The Buzz is topical and thought-provokingly relevant with a dash of adept quirkiness too.
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