The Wasp: Crying Chair Theatre

Declan Dowling
27th Mar 2023

Not to be mistaken for Aristophanes’ 'The Wasps', The Wasp is a twisty-turny treat, more like a slide however than a rollercoaster, as playground pacing pierces the veil of a long nursed hurt. School friends turned victim and bully, Heather and Carla, reunite years after their schoolgirl days where Heather propositions Carla to kill her cheating husband. Carla, whose economic prospects are thin on the ground, accepts the $10,000 proposition. The well-to-do Heather invites Carala to her high-life home to show her highschool bully that living well isn’t the best revenge, but rather mind-games, sadism and actual revenge is the best revenge.

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s 2015 thriller sometimes fringes on the edge of believability, and some of it’s structure and text feel as though they belong with the first draft of this play. But with devices and premise firm and fighting fresh The Wasp proves (and has proven) to be a contemporary device for powerhouse actresses to knock it out of the park. You may recognise Lloyd Malcom’s other work on - 2006’s The Interrogation of Leo and Lisa with Kevin Spacey, the TV series Obsession which is to premier later this year and her much publicized Olivier winning play Emilia which played at The Globe and at the New Zealand Pop-Up Globe season.

Mel Day and Emma Dalton are directed by Richard Cotter in this Flightpath production which is tight and neat as could be hoped for within the confines of the challenging Flightpath space. The setting and costuming are modest and effective, while lighting seemed to be in a perpetual fight with itself to do something interesting, which it simply didn’t need to and became a distraction as colours would change, intensify and dim for seemingly no reason. While for want of some light and shade of a different kind, Dalton and Day carry through their own brand of tension and change which was stretched out across the space like a rubber band waiting to snap back. And when it finally did it made for a copiously cathartic climax to the evening, wrapped up in a satisfying bow.

Thrillers like The Wasp are seldom seen on the Sydney Theatre seascape, especially those written with a level of intensity like this one. A level of intensity which lives not just in the text but in the passion of the women performing it, and those producing it. Nothing beats a night out to see something new and challenging performed by people who are impassioned by what they are doing. Fortunately Sydney is full of this very thing.

The Wasp is playing @ The Flightpath Theatre until 1 April 2023