Thursday, October 12, 2006

Still Rolling

The intention last night was to walk to Darlinghurst (weirdly, Darlinghurst is half way to Potts Point, and Darlinghurst Theatre is in Potts Point... go figure) and catch a cab from there, but do you think there was a single friggin' cab going my way. How could there not be a single cab heading to Kings Cross? I ended up walking most of the way and almost having to break into a run to make it on time. Managed to flag a cab when I was almost there. Had to explain I was running late and that I would have just walked the $3.50 fare if I had the time. Didn't really know why I felt the need to explain this to the cab driver. He didn't care. I know this because he said "I don't care."

Anyway, everyone else was already going inside, I collected my ticket, ordered a glass of wine, went inside and found a good single seat. I didn't really feel like Mr Mysterious as much as Lonely Guy. I sipped my wine, put it on the floor, went to take another sip and then suddenly wondered if I hadn't fucked up. Can you take your drink inside here? Couldn't remember. Surely they would have said something at the door. Maybe they were too polite. Maybe they could see that I was flustered and in a hurry. I looked around at the well-lit audience (play was set in a boxing stadium, bright lights). No one seemed to be drinking. No one seemed to have brought wine in with them. Fuck. Was I going to look uncouth? Was I going to look like an alcoholic? Why did I care so much what all these strangers thought about me? Come to think of it, why did I even think they would think anything of me. Because some people care about such things. Maybe they knew you couldn't take your drinks in and they did the right thing. Was I seriously going to sit here and not drink my wine until intermission?

In the end I decided what the fuck. I drank my wine whenever the hell I felt like it, and if anyone was going to say anything I was just going to shrug and say, "Deal with it. It's just the way I roll."

Here's the review for anyone who's interested. And now I have to dash off to more theatre, this time at the newly refurbished Belvoir Street Theatre. At least The Dreaded One has the night off and we can go together. Meeting her there. Thinking about pretending we're strangers meeting for the first time... our eyes meet from across the room, a loaded smile, I move through the crowd oozing mystery, walking sexily, introduce myself smoothly. There is a spark of passion as she

Fuck. Running late.


As the theatre fills, our ears are caressed gently with the ethereal strains of Ave Maria before the serenity is shattered by a camp and crass video montage of World Championship Wrestling. Funny stuff – the glammest of glam rockers have got nothing on these prancing roid boys.

The very amusing first act of Toby Whithouse’s play sees the oily TV exec Duncan casting for his new project, the re-introduction of telly wrestling. Victor – The Count Of Monte Christo in his heyday – enters and dismays with his age. At 55 years old he is well past his use-by date and tragically stuck re-living his glory days. Personal assistant Emma appears to feel for the hapless Victor, and to us too there is a hint of something pathetic about him. When it is revealed that Victor is a good mate of the head of the production company, Duncan’s indifference towards the old has-been turns to false bonhomie, giving the old wrestler a glimmer of hope of another chance.

It’s all quite funny, and quite fun, but you sense that it’s all leading towards something a bit meatier, and into the second act we are given a big serving of Stuff To Think About – still with the humour (no matter how bitter) – no more than a dislocated arm’s length away.

On one level there is basic human decency to consider. Victor is stuck in the past and is pretty annoying, but at the same time he’s just an honest bloke trying to make his way and do the right thing. That he is willing to change his wrestling persona to The Fiddler (you won’t believe you can laugh so much at a pedophile joke, but laugh you will, I promise) speaks volumes about his vulnerability and the TV exec’s oblivion to it.

But on another level – and this is where I saw several audience members sit forward attentively – there is the question of the nature of television and who, exactly, is dictating what we are fed. Wrestling is the topic in what turns into a heated debate, but it’s also about b-grade drama, reality shows, current affairs shows and those idiotic late night quiz things. Why does it all exist? Who is to blame?

There are many memorable lines in this well-cast play. Switch off the television. Go see some real entertainment.

Until 28 October, Darlinghurst Theatre, Potts Point


Anonymous said...

Even if you're not supposed to drink, those theatre-types are all alcoholics anyway. They won't notice...

Quick said...

I think you're onto something, Pure Gin. It's second nature. I was late but still said "There's a ticket for me, no plus one tonight, and you, idle barman, pour me my wine."

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ahhh, what a life, what a life. Plays, Sydney, theatre...Kings Cross...I wonder if that young fruit vendor is still there, where the beautiful girl awaits her...well, whatever she was waiting for.

Quick said...

Yes GG, I have plenty to be grateful for.