The closing show of the Poppy Seed Festival, Fire Curtin Co’s production of The One is an intense look into the role of violence and consent in relationships.
Written by British playwright Vicky Jones, the play is set over one night in the sleek and modern apartment of Jo (Kasia Kaczmarek) and Harry (Ben Prendergast). As the couple waits to hear if Jo’s sister has gone into labour, Harry’s ex-lover Kerry (Emily Tomlins) arrives at the house, announcing she has been sexually assaulted by her partner. It is here where the dark nature of the show really begins to show and the mind games between Jo and Harry grow more brutal and damaging as the show goes on.
Kaczmarek is a performer who never disappoints on stage. As the outspoken and brutally honest Jo, Kaczmarek shines in the role and manages to bring out a unexpected softer side to the character. Meanwhile Tomlins’ performance, despite limited stage time, is powerful and heartbreaking to watch. The moments between Jo and Kerry are some of the most interesting and unsettling ones to watch and watching Kaczmarek and Tomlins go head to head is an example of truly fine acting. While sometimes overshadowed by the two women, Prendergast’s performance really kicks into gear after his shocking confession and he brings out Harry’s incredibly cold and menacing side with an admirable and powerful restraint.
There are some great comic moments throughout the show, especially the incredibly awkward opening sex scene but overall, this is a bleak and devastating play that does away with gender stereotypes in order to explore the power battles within all relationships.