Man met monster in Mermaids’ first show of the semester Citizen Kaneasaurus. Written and directed by Joe Irvine, this zany satire follows journalist Miss Thompson who scrambles to decode the dying word of media tycoon, Charles Foster Kaneasaurus: “Rosebud.” Through interviews with Kaneasaurus’ family and fellow hacks, she pieces together an image of this part-human part-dinosaur brute, only to find that his evil was really just a mirror reflecting society.
Citizen Kaneasaurus was a cutting and observant satire, filled with shocking moments to keep the audience laughing. Joe’s direction was clearly effective since comic timing was consistently sharp. Moments of awkwardness and unease became cringingly hilarious to watch. In spite of its bizarreness, the play came to a chillingly poignant conclusion, which made the whole piece feel like a cleverly structured journey.
The stand-out performance, fore sure, was Phoebe Soulon as Miss Thompson. Phoebe brought excellent humour in her portrayal of a hungry journalist sniffing for blood and her moody monologues, poking fun at film noir, were a favourite with the audience. Jonathan Hewitt made a frightful yet ridiculous Kaneasaurus. Through excellent voice work, he brought moments of vulnerability to an otherwise vile character, which was particularly skilled as his face was covered with a giant dinosaur head! The only character that didn’t quite work was the voice coach, whose painful screeching completely rendered his lines incomprehensible.
The set of Citizen Kaneasaurus, designed by Molly Proud, was a real triumph. Newspapers spread across the back wall threw us instantly into the hectic and bloodthirsty world behind the headlines. A highlight was definitely Kaneasaurus’ attack on the city, in which an innovative B-movie disaster image was created with a metropolitan backdrop and toy cars. The only item that didn’t quite fit was a collection of crates at the back of the stage. These took up a lot of unnecessary space until they finally became relevant at the end.
Overall, Citizen Kaneasaurus made a for quirky and comical night out. Joe Irvine clearly has a knack for satire and I hope that he will write more.
STARS: * * * *
Carla van der Sluijs