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Wednesday 14 April 2010

Theatre review: Psychopaths

Posted in: Performance
By Matt Akersten - 4th February 2010

Psychopaths: "What do you want?" "I want your blood."

"I wanted to write a kick-ass horror" says Auckland playwright Thomas Sainsbury, who based his latest blood-curdling script on his real-life experiences...

Psychopaths, on stage until this Sunday at Shed 10 on Cook Street, introduces us to young Kiwi traveller Amy, who's down on her luck in New York City. Sainsbury remembers the media-encouraged paranoia of strangers that's so common in big cities he's lived in, and was keen to personify and exploit those fears in his latest production.

Many of Sainsbury's previous productions were comedies, like LUV and Cindy and Eric Go To Hell, which I'd very much enjoyed. Indeed, the best parts of Psychopaths were the comedic moments, particularly from the supercilious socialite Christina, who was cheeringly portrayed by the dependable Andi Crown.

But the play sets out to scare. At times I was on the edge of my seat and genuinely caught up in the tension. Without giving too much away though, the climactic scenes could have been more... climactic. The music could have been louder, the lights could have flickered on and off, or dimmed. More horrors could have been suggested, but not necessarily shown.

And after much wonderful character build-up, we get a finale which falls a little flat, with a silly 'twist' at the end. Hmmm.

It's got a talented cast. Todd Emerson steals every scene he's in as the over-enthusiastic Tony, and Dwayne Cameron would steal many a girl's heart (literally?!) as Pierre. And Morgan O'Reilly carries the whole production very well as the sweetly relatable Amy.

Special mention but also be made of Matt Ledingham for providing the soundtrack, which - on opening night at least - should have started at low volume and built up as the action unfolds.

If you want a fun night out, head along to Psychopaths. But if you want a quiet night in, remember to lock your doors and windows. Just in case.

Psychopaths is on stage at Shed 10, 77 Cook Street, Auckland, until Sunday 7 February.

Matt Akersten - 4th February 2010

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