Friday, 20 January 2012

Landscape Dreaming, Midsumma, Jan 19, 2012, *1/2

By Charles Mercovich 
Company White Wolf, Midsumma Festival 
La Mama Courthouse, Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2012 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: *1/2

LANDSCAPE DREAMING is a comedy that will attract an audience in the Midsumma Festival, but Charles Mercovich’s script and the production need radical reworking and rewriting to make it successful theatre.

The narrative premise has some promise; Marco (Gavin Williams) needs a suitable male date to accompany him to an Italian family wedding but none of his friends are presentable, so he hires a straight actor to play the role of his boyfriend.
However, the narrative is muddled so we keep chasing it down rabbit holes and getting lost or bumping into dead ends.

The most interesting part of the idea – taking the straight guy to the wedding – is omitted, and Marco’s wedding speech furthers neither the comedy nor his argument about whether marriage or friendship is the happier path.

The characters are two-dimensional caricatures, the dialogue is mostly cheesy, sketch comedy and gay in-jokes, and the structure is incoherent with no dramatic tension or narrative arc.

Director, Damian Alexander Bernardo, attempts to make it more interesting by overlaying physical theatre elements, but this simply creates an awkward collision of comic, naturalistic and movement styles.

The actors struggle to do anything more than pull faces and shout, although Scott Middleton as John, the straight guy, is the most truthful in his role.

This story about a landscape architect needs to go back to the drawing board.

By Kate Herbert

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