Four words every house hunter dreads: “Truth doesn’t move property”.
In the UK premiere of Australian playwright Suzie Miller’s Sold, this mercenary truth is the dilemma facing five agents competing to make the huge sale that has propitiously – and suspiciously – dropped onto the books of young estate agency Granger and Co.
Nasty ambition competes with human empathy as personal issues slowly seethe to the surface of the characters’ working life, as bolshie, abrasive Hillary (Abigail Thaw) – who secretly worries she’s over the hill – clashes with conscience stricken Anthony (Henry Everett). Colleague Stan (Jamie de Courcey) is touchingly try-hard, while charismatic boss Gary (Matthew Raymond) pushes them to perform.
Natalie Ibu, associate director for supporters of new writing, High Tide theatre company, directs the peaks and troughs of office tension well, eliciting strong, defined character work from all. And the wheelie chairs the actors circle the stage with are a practical, witty touch.
Though Miller’s two-act play based on interviews with real estate professionals unearths nothing strikingly new, several poetic monologues really shine under the horrendous office strip-lighting that we’re all too familiar with, nailed by lighting designer Richard Howell.
Robbed of either a triumphant or cataclysmic ending, Sold doesn’t close as solidly as it could, but Theatre503 should be pleased with a show that examines the tics and traumas of modern life with honesty and humour.
– Vicky Ellis