Reviewed by Alex Foott
Get Got – Janski Productions
Written by Stephen Faulkner, Nick Messitte & Colin Chaston
Directed by Dominic Shaw
Performance date – Sat 10th Aug 2013
A ripple of shock and concern blazes down the queue as an almighty bang echoes around the garden. The door to the auditorium almost breaks off its hinges as two blurred shapes erupt from within, circling one another and arguing with hushed vehemence. Women are shaking their heads with embarrassment while men make awkward conversation, hoping to divert attention away from the disturbance. Such is the calibre of the acting in this piece that, when the argument has subsided, not everyone has realised that it was staged. Get Got is a brilliantly immersive piece that presents us with an alarmingly bleak view of those in the public eye and the incessant drama that surrounds them.
As we take our seats, we become the studio audience for an American late night talk show. Preston Quick is the disillusioned host, desperate to be freed from his lengthy contract and his sidekick, Wayne Johnson, is young, gay and incredibly du jour. We are talked through the show’s format by the show runner, John, and establish that this is akin to Saturday Night Live or The Late Show with David Letterman. Quick introduces his two guests, 80s superstar Kira Czar and teen pop sensation Sophie Lee, and lures them into embarrassing situations where they ‘get got’. However, Quick soon changes tack and repeatedly sabotages the live show in an attempt to get fired and be free. But of course, drama makes for excellent ratings.
Get Got is hugely impressive and wonderfully original, dissecting our perverse fascination with fame and exposing its repulsive underbelly. The casting is incredibly accurate, highlighting the various personas we see in the media. From the irritatingly good looking Preston Quick to the cloying cuteness of Sophie Lee, each actor understands what they are portraying. Refreshingly, the cast’s naturalistic approach succeeds in convincing us that we are really experiencing the events unfolding before us. There are no weak links here, although Dermot Canavan, as John, and Orla Gormley, as network supervisor Sydney, should be recognised for their outstanding portrayals of the characters that we don’t see onscreen. Likewise, Charlotte Harwood (as aspiring musician Kerry Jackson) is enthralling. Her voice soars with emotion and technical finesse, leaving the audience utterly spellbound to her very last note.
Both script and score are brilliantly tailored to our current conventions, with fresh, topical jokes that seem plucked straight from a real talk show. Satirising the hollowness of fame, and our nonsensical idolatry of youth, this show is exceptionally poignant. Janski Productions is a real asset to the Fringe.