Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Primrose Hill / Kissing For Australia , March 25, 2008
Primrose Hill / Kissing For Australia by Adam Zwar, La Mama
When & Where: Courthouse Theatre, 6.30pm Tues & Sun, 8pm Wed to Sat, 25 March until
April 12, 2008
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
If you’ve never heard of Patsy Kensit, know nothing about Britpop bad boys Liam and Noel Gallagher or their band Oasis, a few jokes in Adam Zwar’s Primrose Hill may elude you.
However this one-man play fires on all rockets and really takes the Michael out of smug and very rich British pop celebs.
Paul Denny plays Miles, an ordinary Aussie bloke who is mugged outside the luxury home of pretty cockney Patsy and her dumb musician-thug husband, Liam Gallagher. Miles believes they want to help him with his injuries but the nutty pair virtually holds him captive as a sex slave so that Liam can film Miles’ sexual antics with Patsy.
Denny, directed skilfully by Russell Fletcher, peoples the empty stage with the pompous (Bono and Sting), the dim (Liam and Naomi Campbell) and the ridiculous (Terence Stamp with Posh Spice). His portrayal of a floppy-haired and ingenuous Hugh Grant is delicious.
The quest to escape the hotshots’ house party is genuinely hilarious and Denny is a delight even when he drops a few lines at the end.
The second play, another solo, is performed by Zwar and directed by Joy Mitchell. In it Zwar portrays another Aussie bloke, Lenny, the office geek who bemoans the fact that he is liked but never seduced by the office girls while his mate Bob blinks and those gals jump him.
Zwar’s performance is not as polished as Denny’s but he has a simple charm and knows his material well. We suspect he was that sweet geek before he got famous with an AFI award. The jokes come rapidly and are often self-deprecating observations about Lenny’s predicament both before and after he finds himself a nice girlfriend.
What makes Kissing for Australia different from Primrose Hill is its dark ending. It could easily be billed as a tragi-comedy when Lenny’s uninspired love life evolves into the wedding from hell.
Both plays are cleverly crafted by Zwar and take us on a fast and funny ride.