|Bailey looking buff and Phelen looking like Barack Obama -|
thankfully they're adorable in real life (Source: La Boite).
To describe the two actors simply, they're beautiful. Every line is accompanied by a decisive and emotional movement which is packed with energy. Garry Stewart's choreography incredibly really helps create an unusual performance which the pair bring to life through their enthusiasm. Despite looking like Barack Obama on the promotional artwork, Kurt Phelan is delightful to watch, his characterization being very animated and pretty adorable. Ellen Bailey's portrayal seems perplexing and is initially restrained and distant until a split second at the end where she breaks and you glimpse the most harrowing expression of agony. Prior to this the portrayal feels very individualized, but then this moment pops up and the entire performance suddenly makes a bargain with your brain and it all makes sense. Their chemistry seems to be a bit lacking, but like all the aspects in the show, it takes a while for us to buy into what they're doing. They're both really endearing though, and the party scene was perfect (although it feels like there need to be more pauses).
|The perfect moment. I love anguish.|
(Source: La Boite Facebook).
The technical aspects are pretty minimal because the action revolves entirely around the words of the characters. The lighting can't do much except illuminate Justin Nardella's daunting but gorgeous stage. The stage is clean with chain grids over exits which seems to evoke confrontation although there didn't seem to be a correlation between how it impacted the narrative. Steve Toulmin greets you into the theatre with this awesome piece comprised of percussive beats and sampling it sounds like something straight out of The Banquet - loved it. I wanted more music, but it was really difficult to see where it could have been without pandering the audience.
If you have any reservations, something about this play just makes you like it and it's suddenly awesome. Although they're not the best combination I've seen on stage, there are two very dedicated, talented and entertaining performers on stage. The text is really clever and sophisticated and the tech is just enough and exactly what it needs to be. I think this would really appeal to lovers of theatre with movement, and is the best thing I've seen in the Brisbane Festival. A solid 5 ½ out of 7.
Duration of approximately 80 minutes. Book by visiting La Boite's website.