Fixer - Richard Pepple as Chuks
Lydia Adetunji's Fixer is the last play in Oval House's London via Lagos season. Set just after a pipe line explosion in the north of Nigeria, it depicts the tale of Chuks (Pepple) a fixer who gives the ensuing international journalists the contacts they need to write their story, in exchange for a tidy sum. However Chuks's loyalties have become divided as the boys responsible for the explosion no longer want to do interviews but the journalist's prices keeps on rising. Add to the mix the corporation who owns the pipe line also using Chuks to do their dirty work, plus an area boy who now wants his piece of the financial pie and the scene is set of an interesting play exploring issues of integrity, money and exactly how many people can one man double cross before suffering the consequences.
The script of this piece is text heavy with the structure based mainly on issue lead conversations between journalists and PR people, PR people and Chuks, Chuks and journalists and even journalists and journalists. The resulting effect is the production feels more like a radio play than one created for the stage and despite the abstract and energetic scene changes directors Bernard and Briscoe have crafted, the production lacked a dramatic emphasis. It is therefore characterisation where Adetunji shined and whether a character was in every scene or only graced the stage once, they were sufficiently detailed and well rounded to create a tangible and comprehendible presence on stage.
This is helped by the cast of phenomenal actors who brought the script to life. In particular Alex Barclay who was excellent as the has-been journalist Dave who needs to get the story or lose his retainer and Richard Pepple gave a first class performance as the man everybody wants, Chuks.
The issues raised by Fixer are without doubt intriguing however I felt the play lacked focused and I was unable to identify with what Adetunji was saying with the piece. The execution of the play didn't live to the potential of its subject matter and I unfortunately left the theatre feeling a little flat.
Cast includes: Damola Adelaja, Richard Pepple, Alex Barclay and Jennifer Jackson | directed by Dan Bernard & Rachel Briscoe
Fixer is at Oval House Theatre until July 10, 2011
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