Last Drinks & Two Mouths Four Hands

18 Nov

Whenever I see a local company produce a foreign play, or a play we’ve all seen before, I’m bemused. A part of me – a very large part of me – wants to scream ‘What’s that about?’

If someone in the team didn’t write the play, it just doesn’t seem like the real deal. It feels like an attempt to cash in on someone else’s reputation or authority.  Or like the whole event is just a showcase of the director or actors’ talents; a step in a career, as against a work of art.  Sometimes I’ve even wondered if it’s actually a type of mysterious ritual……. if we repeat these words, repeat these movements, then the world will be right. Like a rain dance. Or a Catholic mass.

In the past I’ve referred to non-original theatre as ‘cover theatre’; in the same way that The U2 Tribute Show is commonly called a ‘cover band’. I’m not really sure why what’s considered secondhand in other art forms is acceptable in theatre. (I’ve written a lot about conservatism in theatre –   here )

Brave New Word produces new work. Thank God. I wish there was more of it.

Their current double bill at Balmain’s Exchange Hotel has a lot of laughs.

Last Drinks

Photo by David Hooley

Last Drinks is a sitcom written by Jordy Shea and directed by Luke Holmes. Three blokes meet in a pub, which like them, has seen better days. The play’s an intriguing exploration of masculinity; its knockabout discourse (“Chin up, prick”) and it’s rather curious loyalties (children, alcohol, but not women.) The cast (Bob Deacon, Steve Maresca and Christopher Nehme) embrace these deliberately cartoon-like characters and it’s all very watchable.

Two Mouths Four Hands.jpg

Photo by David Hooley

Two Mouths Four Hands by Nicole Dimitriadis and directed by Bokkie Robertson also follows the sitcom form. However, this time, it’s not the world of masculine dumb; this two-hander is a girl’s night in with her gay male friend. They drink. They talk sex and love.  Once again, there’s some good laugh lines, and some provocative questions are thrown up: Does it really make a lot of sense to build our self worth from our sexual experiences? Is friendship really just a type of power play?  Actors Georgia Woodward and Alex Beauman give energetic performances of these youthful characterizations.

The space is used well. The first piece is set in a bar – and we’re in a bar! We’re ushered out at intermission and return to find the second piece quite effectively set in a lounge room.

Pub theatre is good fun. Original theatre is just good.

Veronica Kaye

Last Drinks by Jordy Shea

Two Mouths Four Hands by Nicole Dimitriadis

at the Exchange Hotel, Balmain, 17-19 Nov & 24-26 Nov

Tix and info   here

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