Daddy Developed a Pill – Kings Cross Theatre (NSW)
Written by Cassie Hamilton, Directed by LJ Wilson, presented by Snatched Theatre Collective
Review by Charlotte Smee
With limericks, prolapses and secret doors galore, Daddy Developed a Pill is a frantic farce that explores everyone’s need to impress the Daddies in their lives. Cynthia, a blue-feathery-pyjama-ed young girl, makes limericks with her Daddy any chance she gets. Then, Daddy develops a pill that makes him rich and takes him away from Mummy and Cynthia. Cynthia grows up to become a pill-taking, rich, self-indulgent darling girl, and develops her own pill to impress Daddy.
At the launch party, set in a world of pink glittery walls and three mysterious silver doors by Kate Beere, we find out that Cynthia’s pill either helps you find your true self or kills you within three hours. The play eventually ends exactly how you’d expect, but you’ve gotta be along for the ride.
Jack Francis West and Clay Crighton play an assortment of insane and gender-confusing duos who are in attendance at the party; ranging from Mummy and Daddy, weird little brother Tommy and popper-huffing Step-Mummy, all the way to two boofheads seeing who can f*ck Cynthia first. Both actors do this with tenacity and ridiculousness, with Crighton doing a particularly fantastic job of playing Cynthia’s wife Isabel and her very affectionate mistress Jess. As the play goes on, they switch roles as Cynthia forgets who she and everyone else is, and the way that West and Crighton embody each other’s characters is particularly hilarious. Direction by LJ Wilson brought these characters to life with impeccable timing, using the three doors to maximum farcical effect.
Sarah Greenwood as Cynthia is sufficiently insufferable, pitting various duos of characters against each other and forever getting further and further from finding out who she really is. Her best moments were those when she interacted directly with the audience, asking us to clap if we really believed in Daddy or slyly playing lines off to the side.
Cassie Hamilton’s characters are so beautifully drawn that it makes it easy to forget what’s actually going on in this story. Some existential questions of approval, debauchery and avoidance are dealt with underneath all the chaos, but the fact that Cynthia was so easy to hate sometimes made it difficult to connect with these issues.
Lighting, costume and production by Beere created a colourful and whacky world, with bright pink chaise longue and easily changeable, block coloured costumes being a highlight. Sound design by Rowan Yeomans was synth-y and silly, although at times phone calls with “cartoonish” voices were difficult for actors to follow.
While the plot leaves something to be desired, Daddy Developed a Pill has shining moments of farce and comedy, particularly from party guests West and Crighton. The world of Daddy’s pill has been lovingly constructed by Hamilton and the production team, and it is a joy to experience just to figure out what the hell you’ve just seen.
Daddy Developed a Pill plays at the Kings Cross Theatre from 8th - 18th June. Tickets can be booked here.
Written by Cassie Hamilton Directed by LJ Wilson with Sarah Greenwood, Clay Crighton and Jack Francis West