Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 17, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

BWW Review: ALL YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS FULFILLED FOREVER at the Q Theatre LoftFollowing on from successful seasons at BATS Theatre in Wellington and the famed La Mama Theatre in New York City, the five-time Chapman Trip Theatre Award nominated play All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever is now on at the Loft in Q Theatre, Auckland.

Produced by The PlayGround Collective and Molly O’Shea of the London based company You Me BumBum Train, All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever is a surreal existential comedy set in a hyper-realised modern age of internet-saturated media and Facebook, where Simon, a young twenty-something man is battling to make sense of his life, whilst simultaneously struggling to deal with the loss of his father. Simon, played by principal writer Eli Kent spends his time running, surfing the internet, hanging out with his girlfriend, looking after his pet rats -until one day he sees a commercial on television for a box that’s contents promises to ‘change his life forever.’

In a layer outside this action, outside the confines of the stage area (and unseen by Simon) are the ‘theatre crew’, overseeing and controlling everything that happens on stage, playing the voices of all the different characters who interact with Simon (who are physically represented by inanimate objects) on the stark and isolating white stage. And above them all, hanging from the rafters and controlling the action below is a talking light bulb, an ultimate artificial intelligence who speaks in a computerised voice recalling HAL from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film alluded to in the beginning with talk of monoliths. This play is absolutely laden with pop culture references, creating dual worlds of meaning as each layer wrestles for control and power over the other and situation at hand.

This is the ninth play that The PlayGround Collective has produced since their inception in 2007, earlier works including The Hunting of the Snark (2007), Rubber Turkey (2008), A Brief History of Helen of Troy (2009), The Intricate Art of Actually Caring (2009), Bedlam (2009), Katydid (2010), Tinderbox (2011), and Like There’s No Tomorrow (2013), winning a total of nine Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards along the way. The collective is ‘dedicated to developing innovative theatre born of strong storytelling’ and was originally founded by director Robin Kerr, writer/actor Eli Kent and Eleanor Bishop who is now studying at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Pennsylvania USA.

The strong ensemble cast of Victoria Abbott, Joel Baxendale, Eli Kent and Hamish Parkinson bring the show to life with committed performances and there are a veritable host of pop culture references for the alert to enjoy. Technically the set and design by Sam Trubridge is stunning, with creative use of lighting and special effects by Marcus McShane to represent a range of different events and environments. The music by Wellington musician Gareth Hobbs is also extremely effective and ‘appropriately’ written.

The play is open to a wide variety of interpretations, and a lot of ideas are explored throughout. It is a play that will get you thinking and keep you thinking long after you have returned home from the theatre, a great talking point for discussion with whomever you see it with. It is brilliantly clever and funny, with great characters with interesting interpersonal dynamics between them. All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever will resonate particularly well with younger audiences who grew up playing video games and who experience first-hand the isolation and irony that ‘social’ media and technology has brought us.

All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever is on from the 9th – 19th of September at the Q Theatre Loft, Auckland.

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