Review of the Narcissist

Gunnedah Conservatorium has just finished its latest theatre production, The Narcissist, directed by Larni Christie. 

The Narcissist is an unlikely choice for rural New South Wales. The play by Stephen Carleton, is the Brisbane-based story of Xavier (played convincingly by Ben Hennessy) an ALP marketing expert and his besty Bronwyn (played by a very believable Alison Stuart) who both find themselves at a bit of a loose end where relationships are concerned.

They make a bet to see who will be the first to find a husband by New Year's Eve.

Enter Xavier's housemate Satchel (the hilarious Jack Jaeger) who is clueless about his part in both their plans, and Xavier's ex-boyfriend Jesse (the likeable Joe Kelly), who takes the competition into new territory with his fiancee Y'landah (the talented Grace Norris).

When the play first made the stage in Brisbane more than 10 years ago, the content might have been considered a little more cutting edge than it is today.

We are now in the age of the Narcissist where behaviour like Xavier's - and that of most of the rest of the cast - is fodder for our Instagram feeds daily.

The play is, however, funny, and was performed with polish and aplomb by the cast.

Ben Hennessy gave his Xavier mannerisms suggestive of a gay man, and played the role with confidence and a twinkle in his eye.

We've all known or been a Bronwyn, and Alison Stuart was engaging as this woman keeping herself young through denial and the latest diet trends.

Jack Jaeger lived his role as the young and self-absorbed Satchel and won quite a few laughs from the audience, although the script didn't seem to allow him a very consistent character.

Joe Kelly brought a nice touch of something different to the cast - his role a foil to the more outgoing, look-at-me characters in the play, and Grace Norris was a lovely Y'landah, believable in her eccentricities.

The Narcissist was well cast, well-rehearsed, particularly considering the length of the play, and featured a great set and lighting - a cut above what you might expect from a rural town production.

-Marie Lowe
Two Cats Creative, Gunnedah 

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