|'boy girl wall' didn't always dazzle me, but Stibbard's shpeel with the magpie is ingenious.|
Swearing to myself I wouldn't be bias from my new found ambassador powerz, I set into the theatre to find out. I did like it! Like every La Boite production I go to, I wanted to be swept up in the hype and love it, but I only loved about 50% of it. The rest was pretty good though. Lucas Stibbard is a really talented guy. In his one man show, he tells the story of a couple who have never met before, who meet in the last minute (literally) of the play, and fall in love. Aided by the supernatural forces of fate, the cosmos, and various pieces of furniture and architecture, this piece is not a love story, as we're reminded a couple of times; but a story about love.
There are three areas in the play - Thom's story, Alethea's story, and the story of the objects around them. He switches between all three throughout the show with varied results. Thom's story is okay, the objects are great, and Alethea's steal the show. They're all entertaining, but Thom's story has to act like a slow setup for the rest of the play, and I didn't find the humor as interesting or as quirky. Brisbane audiences have a really weird sense of humor (FYI, spelling it 'humor' because my phone keeps correcting me). At some points I wanted to punch myself in the face, but comedy in general is a hit-and-miss, so not really anyone's fault. The whole thing runs on some splendidly innovative conventions - drawing with chalk, hanging lightbulbs to signify various points in the story, and a ton of spoken motifs to not make any of the superfluous characters look like throw aways.
The play gets over 9000 times better when the shpeel with an angry magpie pops up. Alethea embarks on something of a high tension thriller, trying to avoid the wrath of the hellish beast. It's one moment in the play where everything seems to be perfectly choreographed - the projections, the props, the dialogue is ALL flawless. The magpie pops up a few times and it just steals the show each time. Other wonderful moments include the interaction of the wall, ceiling and (especially!) the floor, Alethea's obnoxious editor, and the gothic reading of the children's book. These moments are gems, and make the play live up to the constant praise the show is getting.
The lighting is good. I'm a sucker for 'stars', so when Thom's universe was projected I almost choked up because it's just such a beautiful and magical moment. The rest of the lighting is nice and subtle, simply having blue and pink lighting to represent the separation of gender. The music is okay. I wanted to smash the xylophone after a while (which was played live - kudos!) because there were only 2 (or one?) themes that were really repetitive and were very short and didn't develop. Pleasant, but considering the romantic context I couldn't stop imagining how lovely it would sound in the form of a string quartet or played slow with a flute. The wall also features a cutesy faux tragedy version of Gnossienne, which made me giggle - but I very much appreciated it!
So all in all, I liked it a lot, but I'm not going gaga over it like every other reviewer in Brisbane is. It carries Sam's seal of approval anyway. I'm not a big fan of one man shows or excessive comedy, but Stibbard is undeniably oozing with talent, you're guaranteed at least one good laugh, or you'll enjoy the story, or just marvel at the sheer ambition and innovation from Stibbard. Liked but not loved, I guess I'll be the only one. Except Pam.
You go, Pam!
Tickets for 'boy girl wall' range from $28-$48 (or if we're besties, $18), and is showing until April 17. Book by visiting La Boite's website or by calling (07) 3007 8600. Photos on this page by Al Caeiro for promotional purposes.