no reception

‘No Reception’ // Drama King Theatre Company

Jason Ekonomides’ ‘No Reception’ is vulgar, crass, and crude. Depending on your comedic tastes, you will either find that a turn-on or turn-off. Drama King’s production, which is playing at the MC Showroom in Prahran, is a textbook case of buyer beware; if you don’t like gross-out humour you have been duly warned. 

The story follows a bridal party as they prepare for the marriage of Jade (Marissa Economo) and Sam (James Martin), a young couple who strive for order but are denied it by their friends and family. The characters that form the entourage are- to put it politely- strong personalities. Naturally, chaos ensues. 

The stage design is minimal but not minimalist. There is enough to suggest the setting without cramming the set. Inside the theatre is a bar (a real one), which adds to the wedding atmosphere. Also contributing to the upbeat spirit are The Ronettes, Sonny & Cher, and a host of other 60s pop acts playing over the speakers before the start of the show. 

After the lights go down, what follows is one hundred and twenty minutes of unrelenting vulgarity, with enough obscenity to make even David Mamet blush. This is not a criticism because it is designed that way, and if you go in for that kind of thing you will be heartily rewarded. 

It is an ensemble piece in the style of a farce, and as such it is low on plot and high on characterisations. The characters are either shallow stereotypes or accurate representations of shallow people; the line is unclear.

Thankfully Ekonomides does not make a point of this. He is more interested in grossing the audience into laughter. Because of the sheer quantity of gags a number fall flat, but a few do work. 

The show begins with one such gag, creatively using the curtain opening to give the impression that the bridal party hasn’t arrived. In addition to this, assistant directors Lara Dougherty and Maddy Theofanides perform many efficient set changes throughout the production. 

The ensemble boasts 15 performers. There are too many to list, but the cast is more than competent in playing their energetic roles. Gene Efron, who plays the daggy dad of the bride, is particularly funny. His slow character stands out against the chaos, and his line delivery is superb. I could easily watch an entire show featuring this one guy. 

Because of the nature of the genre, farces tend to lampoon only the surface of human behaviour. But there is no reason they should not be that way. Plays in this style work best when they do not try to be anything they are not. The show has many shortcomings, but this is not one of them.

Ekonomides knows what his audience wants and gives it to them. It is not my cup of tea but there is no reason why it may not be yours. ‘No Reception’ is relentless in its crudity; I get the feeling it was meant to be that way.

‘No Reception’ performed until Saturday, 29 June 2024 at MC Showroom, Prahran. For more information visit their website.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *