August 12 – 13
“Are you confused?” Jennifer Laycock, in role as Nunny asks the audience late into the one-woman absurdist comedy that is “Plastica Fantastica”. It’s a rhetorical question but an entirely apt one given the craziness that has occurred on stage in the show which is directed by Nicolas Angelosanto.
Nunny is a strange English girl who wants to one day become a mother to make school lunch for hypothetical child. She also dreams of being a Tupperware queen. The reason behind her obscure ambitions is her addictive love of plastic; she can’t get enough of the stuff to the point that she cannot imagine life without it. So when Nunny discovers that she is allergic to the very thing she loves, meaning no more single-use shopping bags or plastic straws, the ensuing course of events is akin to her worst nightmare.
The chaos of what unfolds is farcically funny, especially as Nunny hyperbolically recreates incidents of her childhood as explanation of how her love of and addiction to plastic started. Laycock is a confident performer who remains straight-face throughout, yet is also responsive to mishaps and the management of a very funny ‘volunteer’ audience participation segment. Her performance is layered by the nuances of the script with stories that are stuffed with malapropisms to accompany her physical comedy of exaggerated body movements and accompanying facial expressions, in realisation of Nunny’s essential awkwardness, amplified in hilarious attempts to navigate day-to-day life in a non-plastic world
Narration of the underlying message of the show is spelled out in its conclusion, which feels a little out of step with the tone of the preceding scenes and is probably unnecessary as it is an easily-interpreted lesson, especially through Nunny’s hilarious attempts at a scientific explanation of the effects of plastic straw use. In fact, as a character, Nunny is at her funniest, not in focus on environmental discussions, but rather in reaction to frenemy Rachael, who we all share in our dislike despite lack of a real reason why.
Clearly, this previous Short & Sweet Festival show winner is very much a festival type of show, whose odd hilarity easily wins over its audience members. And in two-show billing with “Lucy & Me” is represents a wonderful and welcomed respite from reality.