Kyla is bored. Josh is arrogant. Cordelia is wounded. And Nate just wants to change the world.
The Buzz is a stylishly-executed four-hander, dealing with fame, status, romantic and familial relationships, death, and sexual harassment all in the space of 75 minutes.
Set mainly over the course of one evening after an awards show, the play takes place almost exclusively in Kyla and Josh’s living room – there very white, spaceship-esque living room. Basking in the glory of his new award, Josh leaves Kyla to her own devices while he gets his beauty rest for the next day’s photoshoot; soon after, Kyla’s estranged younger brother turns up and so begins a night of alcohol, heart to heart conversations and deep, ugly truths.
Lydia Rynne’s script is relatable, relevant and, overall, extremely well-written; all of the characters have their own depth and not one of them seems unnecessary or decorative, which is a real risk for shows of this middling cast size.
Rynne’s characters are brought to life by a very talented cast. Sassy Clyde’s Kyla is a great representation of squandered ambition and unrealised potential draped in an ever-fading cloak of false contentment. Andrew Umerah’s Josh is the epitome of self-involved; distracted from hugging his girlfriend by his own reflection in the television, he personifies all that we find objectionable about fame and pop culture. Gabriel Cagan’s bright-eyed, rage against the machine, anarchistic Nate has a really endearing naivety coupled with the kind of fire you expect from an impassioned budding socialist. And Hannah Duffy brings a really gutting combination of pain, anger and vulnerability to her Cordelia.
Seeing the four interact onstage is absorbing and their acting, along with Velenzia Spearpoint’s direction, deserves every round of applause they get. The Buzz is a tactful show that intentionally leaves the audience feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied at the end. Bringing human emotions and reactions into the mix when dealing with such complex subject matter hardly ever results in easy solutions, and the way they are handled enhances the sense of reality the show endeavours to portray. It is extremely refreshing to not see the story it presents wrapped up in a tidy, expected bow. Because life seldom is.
The Buzz is playing The Bread & Roses Theatre until 19 May 2018
Photo: Bread & Roses Theatre