Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 15 April 2003
Defending the Caveman, with Russell Gilbert, April 15, 2003
Russell Gilbert Defending the
Caveman by Rob Becker
Theatre, April April 27, 2003
Russell Gilbert has taken a leap from his role as a
stand-up comic to a more theatrical form of comedy. It is a courageous
move as the show calls for significant acting skills that differ from those of
Gilbert is, for the most part,
successful in his new role although he seems uncomfortable in the opening monologue
and with the more 'actorly' elements. He comes into his
own when he relaxes and integrates stories of his own. He becomes more animated
when he gets on a roll defending male behaviour.
Defending the Caveman
was created and performed on Broadway by Rob Becker. It is a solo show about the differences
between male and female behaviour. It is a show perfect
for couples so you can nudge each other in the ribs or whisper, " See? Other
people do that. It’s not just me!"
Gilbert begins the performance
with a home video of his fiancee and himself at home. He lies on the couch watching
television as she parades her new clothes. He wipes the bathroom floor with her
towel, mows over her newly planted flowers.
intention of Becker's script is not to belittle men. He wants to explain the
differences in communication and thought processes between men and women.
It is recognition
theatre in the form of potted relationship therapy. It smacks of the psycho-babble
book, Men are from Mars Women are from Venus.
Harrison keeps the show simple. There
are a few lighting changes that heighten the drama when the mythical Caveman
appears to Russell in his circle of sacred underwear in his bedroom. The pace flags at some
moments and could be stepped up. The dynamic range is too narrow.
Gilbert seems to
enjoy himself by the middle of the show when he is able to demonstrate male behaviour.
He wants us to understand his message. He takes us back to
the theory of men being hunters and women gatherers. From this, he says, stem all
modern gender differences and confusions.
Men have narrow
vision based in the need to hunt the prey. Women have a broader focus because
of their gathering past. Men like action rather than words. Women are cooperative
- they work on group decision-making. Men are negotiators. They bargain in
order to win.
The show is fun and,
from the groans of recognition, the audience identifies with most of it.