Is Emily the she-wolf of Wall Street? She certainly exhibits little restraint in her predatory behaviour within her world of relationships, such as they are. Emily is an achiever. She is not only successful but is also witty, attractive and entirely unattached. She lives in a sterile apartment, quite bare and seemingly devoid of the warmth of habitation. Her private life consists of an endless series of disconnected brief liaisons with men whom she always distrusts, despises and rapidly ejects from her life. Emily’s emotional landscape appears all but totally barren. Jess Carroll inhabits Emily with remarkably restrained panache. Her sustained performance is believable, commendable, admirable!
Emily relies on her best friend, probably her only friend, Hallie (Leanne Robinson) who genuinely listens and presents a perspective on Emily’s relationship quagmire. Whilst Emily speaks to us directly and we are privy to her thoughts at all times, it is a significant that Hallie is the only other character to do so. Just once. She is Emily’s true and trusted friend. Leanne plays her with that status firmly in mind.
Emily on occasion connects with her mother Deidre (Therese Hornby) a Wall Street dowager divorcee. Therese’s performance does suggest that all that glisters might be gold! She does hanker for a grandchild someday. All of her friends have one! Emily more often turns to her financial power-broker father Hugh played with experienced subtle guile by Andrew Horwood. It is a nicely balanced and crafted performance. Emily admires her father but says of him, ” He’s not quite Howard Cunningham!”
Then there is the male chorus at the workplace (and after hours too) who possess rampant unchecked sexism in their attitudes to both Emily and all women! They represent male hollowness and macho mediocrity. None of them reports having experienced either a happy marriage or a lasting relationship. Christian Dewar, Josh van’t Padje, Aled Proeve and Adam Schultz share great chemistry and excellent timing throughout. Adam steps out of the team to deliver a cameo as Fields the blustering ineffective sleazebag, an example of Emily’s poor male friendship choices.
When Emily actually finds, and more poignantly feels, romance, it is with a struggling actor called John working as a waiter. Within a nicely balanced performance John (Stephen Bills) reveals the giving and caring elements of human nature. He projects real feelings in his eventual declaration of love. Emily is variously entranced, confused and terrified.
Warren McKenzie has chosen his cast astutely well for this engaging little treatise on power, sex, love and/or being happy ever after! I must also comment on Emily’s many slick costume changes on stage. They are executed with simply choreographed entries and exits by her dressers Brittany Daw and Kaitlyn McKenzie. Very engaging business! It was apparent that the audience began to anticipate these cleverly executed costume modifications and, as the play progressed, enjoyed them more and more. And the subtle change from initial power dressing for jousts on the financial front to more casual walking freely outdoors was very much a telling part of the narrative.
An interesting little play. A terrific performance by Jess Carroll. A smooth and skilful production worthy of your attendance