Wednesday, 17 March 2004

The Slippery Slope by Merrilee Moss, 17 March, 2004

 The Slippery Slope by Merrilee Moss 
Women on a Shoestring
 La Mama, 17 March to 28 March, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on 17 March, 2004

Ageing is never an easy ride but, for the hippy children of the 60s, it is a slippery slope.

 Playwright, Merrilee Moss, portrays three friends over sixty who spent the 1960s travelling the hippy trail together through Europe and Asia.

It is Caroline's (Chrissie Shaw) 60th birthday party at her beachside haven.

Despite years of separation, Robert (Peter Green) and Susan (Camilla Blunden) are the only guests invited - apart from Susan's ex-lover, Drago, who never arrives.

Between the reunion scenes are vignettes from their youthful, dope-smoking travels.

Just watching older actors play young hippies is funny.

In many ways, little has changed in young people. We still see the pretentious, the adventurous, the faux spiritual, the promiscuous, the feminist and the macho.

Although there is no action on stage in either of these scenes, each is amusing. Many will recall the reckless abandon of their hippy youth and others will recognise the fear of ageing.

There are two other modes in the play. The trio plays an elderly singing chorus of rickety lawn bowlers who quote old songs and sing raunchy numbers.

Ageing is also investigated through the eyes of the actors themselves who drop out of character intermittently.

They discuss stage fright, the trickle of acting work, creaky joints and forgetting lines.

The four components sit a little awkwardly together although each is entertaining in its own way.

The performances are often engaging although a little uneven.

Green is amusing as an ex-rogue trying to hang on to his youth. Shaw as the young, ethereal Caroline, is entertaining. Blunden seems more comfortable in the chorus scenes.

Age has changed and wearied all three characters. What we miss is the detail of their lives and the complexities of their reactions to each other, the past, the changes in their relationships.

Robert's Vietnam experience is tossed into the mix quite late and never integrated. Susan's broken marriage is never dealt with and Caroline's middle years are barely mentioned.

Most of the action is off-stage or talked about in the past tense. Even in a memory play there needs to be forward moving action.

This play is part of Senior Citizens' Week and could delight or shock its audience.

LOOK FOR: The trio singing the raunchy number, Root, root, rooty-root.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment