Friday, April 25, 2008

Men, Love and the Monkeyboy

At the Darlinghurst Theatre - a co-op space - I saw a new Australian play, The World Premiere of MEN, LOVE AND THE MONKEYBOY by Caleb Lewis. The Ape and Homo Sapiens shares 97% of the same DNA. The play tells us early. We then see the other 3% acted out ,mostly men and women behaving badly. The Direction (Christopher Hurrell) is not good or when I saw it, late in the season, the actors had lost discipline. The Design is not very useful and the staging is adequate. The Acting style is pitched somewhere between Television Situation Comedy (think My Family or Everyone Loves Raymond) and Soap (think Neighbours) and is truly painful to watch. Actors playing from a learnt audience response to the gags and pathos of the performance rather than an in the moment experiencing of the characters dilemmas and interactions, or a story that had life or death stakes.. Despite this there are glimmerings in the text that this writer has real promise and sometimes there is a text attached to some intelligent observation and in the scene between the characters Hayley and Chelsea in the second act some interesting observations about the dilemma of the contemporary woman and how she is seen in a post-feminist world. In an ideal world this play would go back into a rewrite and have a new production and cast. In the Australian production reality the play will never see the light of day again. A shame as it may have promise. Look forward to Mr Caleb’s next go.

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