FIVE STUBBIES FOR A SIX PACK @ Hayman Theatre gets 8.5/10

Five Stubbies for a Six Pack @ Hayman Theatre
Sunday, February 14, 2021


Five Stubbies for a Six Pack is an original production written and directed by Nelson Fannon; based on his own experiences working in a bottle shop in his late teens and early twenties. The play unfolds as a series of short vignettes, as customers of various walks of life come into their local bottle shop and converse with the man working behind the counter. The customers tell the stories of their lives to the employee, revealing the complexities of their experiences, their struggles, and their triumphs.

This core concept is executed on superbly by Fannon’s writing and direction, the basic outline and formula for the show is surprisingly exhilarating. As the show goes on, you will become more and more excited to see who will come through the shop doors next, and what story they will have to tell.

Alex Hutchings’ performance as the manager of the Bottle’O, Chris, is what holds the entire show together. With each customer, Chris is at first apathetic, simply there to do his job, however as each encounter progresses, Chris simply can’t help but care. This journey is convincingly portrayed by Hutchings, and anyone who has worked a job like this will relate to his performance.

Hutchings is joined by an equally impressive supporting cast. Vee Maguire is Helen, a middle aged woman dealing with being betrayed by her Spanish lover. Sebastian Boyd is Alex, a man going through a divorce and struggling with fears of being an absent father to his two children, with particular concerns for his son, who he fears will fall victim to the cycle of toxic masculinity without him being there for him. Kyra Belford-Thomas is Danni, a woman managing to keep her head held high despite her parents kicking her out of home for being gay. Gino Cataloo is Jeff, a man in his twilight years, reflecting on his life and his family’s future. It’s these performances that keep you hooked on the show for it’s full runtime; at first they all come off as one-dimensional, but by the time they leave the Bottle’O, you’ll want to go out the door with them, just to see what happens next.

Mikayla Fanto and Elyse Belford-Thomas assume the role of movers and dancers for some of the more elevated sequences during the performance. This is also where the technical work from Ashleigh Ryan and Cat Broome shines through. As the stories of Helen, Alex and Jeff reach their climaxes, we are transported away from the bottle shop and into the histories and psyches of these characters; they sing and dance in these suddenly more surreal performances, while Hutchings, Fanto, and Belford-Thomas assume various roles to aid the storytelling.

Five Stubbies for a Six Pack makes the most of its premise by presenting its audience with a series of short stories that deal with various subjects and themes. If Fannon and co decide to put the show up once again, it will be a must see.


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