Why would you name your kid Apple?
Shouldn't porn stars promote fitness equipment?
And what's with garden gnomes? You looked at 'em?
All this and more is answered as the relationship between a stand-up comedian and his informercial-loving girlfriend gets put under the spotlight.
Chapman Tripp winner Erin banks and nominee Robert Lloyd are directed by Larry Rew in a new work from the writer of 'After Service'.
"I've got a friend who's in a relationship, got that "Life's great" demented skip to his walk. The whole, 'the hills are alive with the sound of termites eating baby trees' or something... I just feel like shoving him down some stairs."
It seemed odd to me that this show started at 10:30pm, around the time I'm usually crawling into bed in my purple floral PJ's.
Later I decided the 10:30pm start was somewhat appropriate for this quirky play. The setting itself suggested late nights. A small room at the back of Centerpoint, a decent handful of audience members, somewhat small and intimate. So intimate that I occasionally found myself distracted by two men in front of me. One was wearing a Thursdays in Black top, which I took the time to read. The other seemed to be dozing off in his seat. The latter being no reflection upon the show itself.
I also felt slightly intimidated by the intimacy of the setting. I kept on stifling yawns, because the actors could actually see me if they chose to look. The yawning also does not reflect on the play, I was simply tired, because this play really wasn't boring, even though I can't quite figure out why.
It seemed to be part comedy, part relationship angst. Mixing the amusing with the sometimes gut wrenchingly depressing. It seemed to almost deliberately foster ambivalence. I liked it, I really did, but I can't quite explain my reasoning. The relationship played out seemed a bit cliche somehow. Once or twice during the monologue of Freddy I found my mind wandering. But there was this sense of humour and quirkiness to it that completely saved it. It overrode my reservations about dramatic relationship cliche's and brief mind wandering stints, because somehow it worked. Ultimately the story and the actors managed to grab you, suck you in, and keep you there until they had finished.
I'm glad I went. Any show that can inspire me to ignore an irritating need to pee has to be worth it. Right?
I wasn't at all sure what to expect from this play. The info on the flyer was, by necessity, sketchy, and the official programme didn't really contain much more... after all, to fully explain the show in paperwork, you reduce the impact of the performance itself.
This performance was held at a relatively new venue in town, The Dark Room, located in one of the converted workshops underneath the Centrepoint Theatre, and I must admit I was quite impressed, although the open-plan layout of the set made it diffucult at first to decide where to sit... I know there was a planned amount of audience interaction, but I didn't want to suddenly realise I had become part of the set!
The show began easily enough, with the players taking up stations on the couch and at the microphone, and away we went. Moments of laughter, confusion, agony and pain played across the stage in front of us for nearly an hour and a half, and by the end of it I had laughed, clapped, boo'd and groaned along with the rest of the audience, some of whom found even the most heart-rending moments hilariously funny... strange folks.
Personally, I found much going for this production, small though it was. Anyone who has been in a relationship can empathise with either, or both, or the characters. There are times when even the most wonderful relationship takes a detour into "Why do I BOTHER?!" territory... and the potential, during those times, of infidelity on one side or other, or both...
Overall, an excellent performance both in concept and in execution. Like 'Seinfeld' on a Bourbon IV drip, with a dash of 'Once Were Warriors' for spice... I was rapt. Very thought-provoking in place, entertaining in all ways throughout, this is a play worth watching... Lloyd and Banks make very sure of that.
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