Review: THE WASP at Q Theatre, Auckland

Don't trust unless you know....

By: Sep. 18, 2022
Review: THE WASP at Q Theatre, Auckland
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Faultlessly acted, impeccably directed, ironically funny, and frequently truthful at a surprising level, THE WASP is certainly worth seeing. What to expect from THE WASP? This is the definitive epitome of a thrilling thriller with all the expected mystery, paranoia, and dramatic action one could expect from this genre. The audience is treated to a range of plot twists - entirely extraordinary and unexpected - and that's all this reviewer will divulge on that particular score.

What the audience can expect is a supremely delivered production - all the more so because you'd be more likely to see something like this as a film rather than a play. Being so very live, and intimately presented, the audience feels as if it is observing, almost eavesdropping. You are immediately drawn in from the first moments when Carla (Miriama McDowell) and Heather (Bree Peters) meet up after 20 years. The energy and emotional "truth" of the two hold us unequivocally for the two hours - no mean feat.

Miriama McDowell is entirely believable as fifth time pregnant Carla searching for love and acceptance, despite her matter-of-fact bravado. Heather and Carla went to school together - when they weren't exactly friends - and they haven't seen each since. It seems Facebook has proved the fortunate vehicle of connection - wonderful Facebook! We have all been warned against the harmful side effects of pouring out your emotional life on Facebook. The play will certainly make you rethink the magnitude of the potential malignant mischief FB can generate. Heather knows everything about Carla - and she's not just interested, she's invested. Bree Peters is outstanding in her portrayal of the more successful, but barren, Heather. Her tortured past surfaces in the narrative of the second half and provides superb twists in plot, and character change.

Director Sam Snedden commented (on opening night) that it's a delight in theatre to work with people you can trust and who believe in you. That's also very true of the relationships we long for in every aspect of our lives. The well-written script would have you believe so. The play's structure, clever set, superb sound and lighting design (Jane Hakaraia, Meg Rollandi, Emi Pogoni) provide a definite range of psychological and thriller opportunities - unreliable narrative, psychologically stressed characters, suspense, OCD, sexist remarks, realistic (often black) humour, foreshadowing (clues), mystery and moments of well-timed dramatic intensity (actually terror). All these the two accomplished actors and the consummate Sam Snedden took great joy sculpting for us.

This is an outstanding piece of theatre and definitely should not be missed by lovers of this genre.

On until 24 September at Q Theatre. Bookings through or the theatre.

Audience note

The show contains coarse language, violence, graphic discussions of violence and sexual assault, themes of mental health, bright lights, and loud and sudden sounds. It is suitable for audiences over 16