There’s something beneath the surface weirdness within John Patrick Shanley’s play The Big Funk, that most can relate to. The Tap Gallery provides the perfect intimacy for the Shanley’s 1990 story of love and life; its intricacy of issues delivered to the audience through a script that engages instantly through a careful balance between the comical and perverse ideas embedded within it.
Dynamo characters are where the play’s real power lies, with Jill (Alixandra Kupcik) overcoming deep rooted father issues after being lathered in petroleum jelly on a first date, whilst couple Fifi and Omar (Jess Loudon and Michael Drysdale) explore the lengths each is willing to go in order to support the other. Each is executed convincingly in Suspicious Woman Productions’ performance. Comical moments proved thoroughly entertaining, whilst others where the play’s most poignant messages lay, were appropriately uncomfortable.
The first act is engaging with Fifi’s presence impossible to ignore, but it is the timing of subtle exchanges between Jill and her date, Gregory (Bali Padda is hilarious), that really hit the mark. With a slightly slower paced second act, the cast are able to maintain their drive. Austin’s (Jasper Garner Gore) closing monologue ties the play together in unforgettable fashion, the entire play enigmatically compelling.