Hot Property at Etcetera Theatre
Today’s media focuses heavily on our obsession with celebrity culture. Every newspaper, magazine, news report and TV show subjugates us with coverage of the lives of the illusory superior individual, existing in a parallel reality that we see but cannot touch. Perhaps if we were able to collide with their world we would view them differently.
Hot Property, a black comedy written by playwright Matthew Randle, creates a setting in which that possibility becomes a reality. Struggling aspiring actress, Beth (Joanna McCarthy) and her housemate Rob (Pip Gladwin) come into contact with C-list “celeb” and it girl Natalie Darkins (Georgina Morrell) after a chance encounter. The star-struck duo fail to keep Natalie a secret as friends Claudia (a TV producer, played by Tracey Pickup) and Annette (Leanna Wigginton) visit the house.
Meeting Natalie inspires Claudia to concoct a story that will benefit both her and Beth – she sees the chance to exploit the situation and markets Natalie to the press as a reformed feminist icon. However, details of the star’s life surface, and the lies and deceit unravel to ensure a messy ending.
Morrell’s performance as Natalie, a ditsy and ignorant dignitary, is both believable and comedic. Her self-centred persona is matched only by the character of Claudia, played convincingly by Pickup. There are good moments in this production that persuade you to want more from the characters, yet the events that unfold feel like a build up to something that doesn’t come, ending with an anticlimactic disappointment for the audience.
Despite that, the premise is certainly not lost. Randle highlights the fact that the celebrity lifestyle is not always what it seems in glossy print, and in fact its denizens are manipulated into being a product that may not reflect the true self. We seem to forget that these figures are mere humans with the same inane problems as the everyday “civilian”. Hot Property goes a fair way to convey that sentiment.
Hot Property is at Etcetera Theatre until 1st March 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.