One actor. Thirty-seven characters. Doesn’t that make you break out in a sweat just thinking about it? That was the challenge actor Nick Curnow faced performing Becky Mode’s ‘Fully Committed’ at the New Theatre as part of the Sydney Fringe.
Directed and produced by Alexander Butt, he certainly made Curnow sweat in this one hour transformational acting piece set in the engine room (read dingy windowless basement office) of a swanky four-star, award-winning Manhattan restaurant. Whilst Sam (Curnow) has to deal unassisted with the plethora of calls and demands from clients and staff, he is also trying to juggle his own family and career life choices and find the assertive man that lies within to try to regain some control of the juggernaut of pressure placed upon him. It’s a piece that shoots out of the gate and doesn’t stop until Curnow is lying in a pool of his own perspiration.
I remember seeing this piece with Jamie Oxenbould as Sam at the Ensemble well over a decade ago. He was fabulous and it still remains a highlight of tackling such a multi-character piece. But Curnow almost got there too. Certainly Curnow’s vocal skills were terrific. We recognised each character immediately and his nuance and range was impressive. He is yet to still master all the physical subtleties and there are some tiny timing issues but gee, I’ll repeat, thirty-seven characters. I challenge anyone to beat that beast. It's a performance marathon.
This was an enjoyable Sydney Fringe outing and so far, with just a few exceptions, there has been so much talent and risk on offer throughout the season. What a great avenue for non-mainstream actors to get their hands dirty and embody some strong short plays and self- devised works.
I will admit I’ll be glad when the Fringe finishes so my life can go back to normal and not the turbo-charged experience I've had as far as reviewing goes but I’m pleased to have been introduced to an 'underbelly' of Sydney talent and I wish the momentum of choice could continue for Sydney-siders.
‘Fully Committed’ is an entertaining night out and you will be rewarded with some very fine performance work on stage so get along to the New this week and check it out.