By Michele Davis
Directed by Catherine Hill
With Olivia Connolly, Brett Cousins, Daniel Frederiksen & Kat Stewart
Done Deal (26 November – 21 December, 2003) –Kate Herbert, Herald Sun 08-Dec-03
Red Stitch Actors Theatre is now producing Australian plays and Michele Davis’ Done Deal is a strong start.
It has a contemporary story, interesting plot convolutions, detailed characters and fraught relationships.
Holt (Brett Cousins) answers the door to Carla (olivia Connolly) who is euphemistically asking for a cocaine deal left for her by Holt’s brother, Davey (Daniel Frederiksen).
Holt (named after Harold Holt by his delusional mother, makes a huge mistake with Carla that night. It involves sex and drugs and it happens on the evening before his fiancee, Laney (Kat Stewart) is to arrive.
What transpires is a funny but dramatic web of lies, deception and revelations.
Davis’ writing is well observed and naturalistic. Her characters are real and recognisable in the twenty-something corner of our urban society. The action is concise and credible and the plot often surprises.
Director Catherine Hill keeps the pace tight.
Cousins gives a delightful performance as Holt, balancing charm and deception.
As his brother, Frederiksen plays a complex palette of emotions.
Stewart plays Laney, the only person not involved with drugs, with enough suspicion to prevent her looking stupid.
As Carla, Connolly makes real the desperate dopehead who is also a successful real estate agent.
An entertaining play with commendable acting.
Helen Thomson, The Age 08-Dec-03
This play, along with the previous Red Shorts season of short plays, represent Red Stitch Actors Theatre’s move into new Australian work. Michele Davis’s Done Deal is suited to their style and strengths. It is a tough, tightly plotted and fast moving look at one aspect of the contemporary drug scene.
The world occupied by Holt (Brett Cousins), Laney (Kat Stewart), Carla (Olivia Connolly) and Davey (Daniel Frederiksen) is not that of the down and out junkie. They don’t look like a bunch of losers. Davey, in fact, is doing very well, but so he should considering his career as a drug dealer.
However, his brother Holt only has a career as a user, and Davey must accept some responsibility for that since he began by supplying him. Carla has a job in her family’s real estate business, but she is one of Davey’s most regular cocaine customers. Only Laney, engaged to Holt, is free of drugs. Alas, her relationship with Holt and Davey brings her into unwelcome contact with the scene.
Davis’s plotting is satisfyingly complex and her final line, capping the disintegration of all the relationships that have been at stake throughout, is blackly ironic. It underlines the source of all the complications – the sheer inability of the user, Holt in particular, to keep to the truth.
Overt didacticism is unnecessary, particularly since each character reaps a tough but just reward for their actions. Davey is too morally tainted by his dealing to have a chance of reforming his brother. Carla is too emotionally fragile to beat her habit. Laney can only walk away.
As Holt, Cousins gives a masterly performance of charm distorted by addiction. Conolly provides just the right mixture of brittle toughness and vulnerability as Carla. Stewart admirably manages to suggest the irony of the only innocent member of the group being its real victim. And Frederiksen projects Davey’s moral ambiguity with appropriate subtlety. Done Deal represents another successful production from Red Stitch, and it is encouraging to see this company taking on the challenge of new Australian writing with its usual panache and commitment.