In No Particular Order

Cement Box Theatre (Borderline Defamation Productions)


“It’s a bit chilly on the willy,” as one character put it, is an apt description of In No Particular Order or so was my impresson of writer Paul Osuch’s creation after the first few minutes. Two mates, Jeremy (Lee Murphy) and Stephen (Ray Tiernan) are groom and best man discussing the merit of the forthcoming wedding. Jeremy is excited (or at least he thinks he is) at the prospect of a lifelong commitment to his bride to be, Kelly (Jodie Sparrow). Stephen is less than thrilled an attitude that makes a lot of sense once his love for Kelly is revealed.

In No Particular Order seemed to be running along smoothly. Pretty basic premise, passible character interaction and fair use of a modest set. Perhaps it was the heat however, but my attention began to waver. The scene seemed to lag, and while the actors did exhibit some promising nuances, as a whole the characterisations seemed mediocre and as was later put “lacked depth”. Then, a technical hitch…

At this point, such performances can be taken one of two ways. Either director Melissa Maclean unintentionally left the performers grasping, as I initially feared, or the dramatic energy on stage was in fact a bright stroke of directing precision. A dry theatrical tundra, designed to juxtapose the remainder of the play. I’d like to think the latter was the case.

Central to the play’s premise is the idea of life being a spontaneous succession of action and reaction. After “technical” hiccups are resolved, writer Paul Osuch welcomes us into the realms of absurdity with seemingly unconnected acts that toy with dramatic structure and theatrical etiquette. The script begins to gain momentum, wooing the audiences with colourful characters and engaging scenarios. Gareth Lewis and Natasha Yantsch steal the limelight with well-timed comical performances and are facilitated by good support from Louise Brehmer, Cindy Nelson, Nigel Poulton and Christian Willmer.

For the most part these scenes are well-written and well-received. But once again things began to dawdle. Osuch could have achieved better effect by economising on the script, and while the ideas are inquisitive, they are not that original. This play’s achievement lies in its execution and jocular performances. In No particular Order is a somewhat hit-and-miss affair, but serves as a reminder of what theatre can be if orthodoxy is optional.

— Damian Sommerlad
(Performance seen: Wed 11th February 2004)