Kate Dehnert & Bec Petraitis : Swamped

Reviewed by Colin Flaherty

This two handed play told the tale of Roy (Kate Dehnert) and Frank (Bec Petraitis), struggling in the cut-throat and morally bankrupt world of Digital Marketing. This rollicking farce of workplace hostility and friendship was a wonderful showcase for this pair’s acting talents.

We got the tropes of a classic comedy pair. Dehnert’s alpha female was barely holding together a sense of control as her world crumbled, going into riotous fits of rage in dealing with ignorant clients. Meanwhile Petraitis really shone as second fiddle Frank who was furiously treading water with a hysterical look of wide eyed panic permanently plastered on her face. Her anxiety really endeared you to this underdog.

Both portrayed their characters big, loud and over the top which was the perfect way to convey the comic desperation of the piece. The dialogue bounced along at a fair clip as we were treated to plentiful amusing quips and a little bit of slapstick.

The action essentially took place in one room requiring the set to darken only a few times to reset props. There were nice little touches in the cubical décor that suggested that all was not well in this place of business…not that you really had all that much time to take your eyes off the action of this engaging story.

The sound and lighting design was superb – particularly during a series of vignettes with gloomy music and a grey hue to denote the drudgery of office life. Other pieces of music cleverly matched the action and dialogue to heighten the absurdity.

In addition to the exaggerated conflict that drove this show there were some inspired ideas in the periphery of the main story. Daft product samples that the duo were trying to market were suitably strange and lead to some brilliant running jokes.

Dehnert and Petraitis are gifted writers and performers separately but together they are a powerhouse double act. Swamped is a damn fine result of this partnership.

Swamped is on at Trades Hall until April 24