Friday, 18 November 2005

Love by Patricia Cornelius, Malthouse, Nov 18, 2005

Love by Patricia Cornelius 
by Malthouse Theatre
Where and When: Tower Theatre, Malthouse 
 Nov 18 to December 4, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on  Nov 18

Three totally socially dysfunctional characters live like rats in a wheel in Patricia Cornelius’ play, Love.

Tanya (Lisa Sontag), while she is in prison, falls in love at first sight with Annie (Peta Brady). They become inseparable and feed each other’s neuroses, addictions and basic desperate need to love and be loved.

When Tanya ends up back in the clink, Annie, despite her protestations of undying love for Tanya, succumbs to the questionable charms of Lorenzo, AKA Lenny (Simon Maiden), a smarmy, smiling junkie.

Finally, all three end up sharing a single, sordid room, living in a bent love triangle built around Annie’s need to be loved.

The problem is that Annie is the only breadwinner; her prostitution brings in cash for their heroin habits. Tanya looks after the business side, Lenny keeps Annie happy with sex and laughs and Annie sells her childlike 19 year-old body to the nearest bidder. Each takes advantage of the others.

Cornelius depicts the peculiar netherworld of he petty criminal, junkie, uneducated, workless, abused and incapable. Annie expresses her craving for something else, another place, something new, different but she can no sooner name it or achieve it than kick the heroin.

The language is strong, the characters sympathetic but almost irredeemable, their world ludicrous and sad.

All three actors work hard to inhabit their characters but it is Brady, as Annie, who is the most consistently credible. Her frenetic needy behaviour is absolutely believable.

At odd moments, the language and dialogue slips out of the searingly raw and realistic into oddly inappropriate more educated lingo.

The short, sharp scenes work for the early parts of the play but the pave begins to hiccup and the frequent scene changes become annoying. The dialogue is most often clipped short sentences. It is played fast, with plenty of energy but begins to feel repetitive in the latter half.

 Love lacks a clear dynamic arc and loses momentum by the last scene.

By Kate Herbert

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