Standstill - an exceptionally fast-paced comedy
Written and directed by Anders Falstie-Jensen
The Rebel Alliance
Q Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
Until June 9
From 14 June 14-23
Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
From July 5-7
We sit in the Loft Studio of Q Theatre looking out onto Queen St and in front of us are three treadmills. This is a gym like all those others with street views so that passersby can look in to see other people honing their bodies.
But then three people arrive in their workout gear and draw a curtain across the outside world – we are in the theatre. Here, people exercise the brain not the body. Except these three will exercise the mind while they exercise the body, striding along on their treadmills.
This is going to be story time and they are taking us on a metaphorical journey. While they walk, run and race they will tell and share tales which are real, invented, uplifting cautionary and confusing about life, love, family and work.
How do you get to be a famous astronaut/doctor/actor? How do you get to be the sort of person who is fulfilled, has a great job, great wife, great children and great sex life?
Standstill shows you how to do it with a mixture of life coach mumbo jumbo, career consultant bureaucratic speak and pseudo philosophical meditations.
The comedy by Anders Falstie-Jensen takes a series of encounters which show both the aspirational ways in which some people achieve and the hopelessness which dogs many others.
It’s a breezy and infectious play, sometimes banal, sometimes incredibly perceptive - a great hour of entertainment.
There is Colin, the Cambridge Cannonball and world-class cyclist who came second at the Olympics, and Josephine, the inspirational career adviser who suggests Kevin and Andi confront the negative bullet points of their life as they stream towards them.
There are a dozen other characters who give and get personal advice on work, love, success and failure.
These are more than just separate comedy sketches, though. They are nicely intertwined, combining stories with pathos, humour and insight.
All these little sequences would fall flat if it wasn’t for the three smart actors - Andi Crown, Kevin Keys and Josephine Stewart Tewhiu. Their comedic and physical exertions show they are all at the top of their game.
The play closes with the trio putting their treadmills on fast speed and they race, wordlessly, until they are completely exhausted in a clever summation of the game of life.