Thursday, May 26, 2011


The ultime scene!
Okay, let me start by saying I love the ladies, but I have never liked any piece of performance directed by a woman, until now. My faith in women directing was obliterated by Deborah Colker and the disgusting mess she named 'Ovo'. However, I didn't approach 'Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness' with any trepidation, because it's La Boite. And nothing from La Boite ever gets a bad writeup. Hoho. Aside from it's dreadful promotional artwork (not gonna lie, I straight out told David Bertholt last week that it looks like the kind of picture quality you get when your printer runs out of magenta ink, and tries to compensate with lots of cyan. Craaaazee.) there isn't much to complain about Edward Gant. The cast are the best ensemble that I can recall presented at La Boite, the set, lighting, and music are all evocative and incredibly enhance the performance, and the direction by Sarah Goodes is pretty good.

The evening started pretty disappointingly - if you're not a connoisseur of food, skip to the next paragraph. I only had $2.75, so the usual tastebud delight of my BWC muffin was out of reach. I resorted to some red licorice. The guy who served me at Woolies said he wanted to try it, and although I offered some to him, he had to turn it down. lucky guy, I've gotta show up and warn him not to. It's dreadful. I can't remember who makes it, but avoid it all. I offered some to the nice lady at the box office who flat out refused because she hates licorice - another soul saved. Finally, Tyronne walked past and said hello, and also declined to sample. 3 people saved. I can't remember how I described it, but it's socially unacceptable. I'd rather do something less painful, like stick my dick in an oven, than eat it again. Burrrr!

The cast of the show are supremely talented. Paul Bishop plays the titular role of Edward Gant, and portrays him as a charismatic and enigmatic paragon of mystery. My one complaint about Bishop in Julius Caesar was his projection when not facing you - in tonight's performance he was facing us the whole time and was a delight to watch, and although his character is quirky at times, he keeps the audience grounded when the stories verge on alienating. My beloved Emily Tomlins returned also, portraying once again an ensemble of characters by herself. I can't get over how great this woman is - she effortlessly transitions between roles and her acting is perfection. Just when I thought I may start to get tired with the show, she pops up and commands my attention with her conviction and dedication. Lindsay Farris and Brian Probets also portray a multitude of characters, Farris excellently portraying his character whose aggressive cracks progressively appear and wreck havoc within the play. Probets is also great, his timid character acting naïve, impressionable and apologetic at the same time. He truly shines as his role in the 2nd story. I'm running out of adjectives to describe this troupe, but they're top quality.

The play text itself is slightly underwhelming. The context isn't communicated well, although the characters are explained who they are at the beginning, theres so mich going on and you're in awe, you'd have to read the progamme to get the whole picture. The interjections of breaking the 4th wall feel really unnecessary and sort of forced, the moments before the teddybear scene were so forgettable and disengaging that I started fantasizing about machine gunning the person who stole my wallet to death. The ending is really abrupt and just as it starts getting interesting (the fighting is a little grating and is pulled out too long), it's all over. The lack of an intermission did not help, I've been to 80 minute shows that have had at least a 10 minute break.

The comedy of the play didn't click for me, but it works. The script is smart - it's funny, and for most of it you don't need to laugh out loud to enjoy it. However, there are a bunch of slapstick-esque moments were a little boring, along with the gross factor moments. There was this girl in front of me that produced a hybrid of guttural chokes and a quack of a duck who butchered the mood most of the time. Très terrible. Sort of like listing to Diamanda. The play is crackling with these delightful throwaway politically incorrect comments - the sort that would render the stereotypical audience member so aghast that their monocle would fall off. They were really witty but apparently most of them (with the exception of the 'dirty Indians' stab) fell on deaf ears. Don't get me wrong, they weren't hilarious and I would never have laughed unless I tried, but they were the jokes that *should* have gotten the lulz.

Renée Mulder's set, Steve Toulmin's music, and Damien Cooper's lighting blend in impeccable harmony. The opening of the play is phenomenal. I actually got goosebumps - the crescendo of the music paired by the lights and the charisma of Bishop were a treat. The absolute highlight is this gorgeous scene about 30 minutes in, when a music box turns and the lighting projects stars all over the stage. Squeeee STARS. The talented Toulmin has written a score that complements the show entirely. It's eclectic and eccentric, but if you'd ask me to sing a motif I couldn't do it. But it was my first viewing. There are lots of lovely sprinklings of string and piano. Much and deep respect for associating music so heavily into the show.

I didn't think much of the costumes. I wanted them to be the highlight but they were pretty underwhelming. I've been spoiled by Zarkana (although I'm also sort of underwhelmed by them) and Zed (best). They just weren't out there enough, and I wanted them to be fantastical and opulent and unbelievable.

The theatre was about 30% full tonight, which is disappointing since it's much better that boygirlwall, which was continuously selling out. Im not sure why people are so tepid about this one.

So La Boite and STC's meeting on Edward Gant is pretty spot on. As a final verdict I'd say it's them fantastically presenting and making the most of good material. It unfortunately wasn't le best La Boite show that Im searching for, but pretty excellent. Look at that - women can direct good theatre. Harharhar.

Tickets for 'Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness' range from $28-$48 (or if we're besties, $18), and is showing until June 12th. Book by visiting La Boite's website or by calling (07) 3007 8600. Photos on this page by Al Caeiro for promotional purposes.

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