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.
Friday, 30 October 2015
Someone LIke Thomas Banks, Oct 31, 2015 ***
Written by Thomas Banks & Gayelene Carbis By Platform & Straightjacket Productions At 45downstairs, from Sat Oct 31, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Sat Oct 30 Stars: *** Full review also published in Herald Sun online on Mon Nov 2, 2015 and thereafter in print. KHs
Looking for love is hard enough in this world, but when you are a young,
gay man living in a regional town and you have a disability, that search
becomes even more complicated.
Banks is an engaging, playful 24 year-old who lives with cerebral palsy, but
that’s not stopping him having a full life doing jobs that include disability
advocate, usher, actor and writer.
Someone Like Thomas Banks, a short performance about his life, Thomas addresses
the audience directly and, although his speech is often difficult to decipher,
his message is always clear: he wants love and he wants to communicate with
people and engage fully with the world.
Thomas looks for love and friendship online where he can express himself
fluently in writing without having to rely on verbal interaction.
However, sometimes things goes awry when he meets prospective partners
in person and, in one hilarious first date encounter re-enacted by audience
members, Thomas asks too much too soon, his date scarpers and Thomas foolishly
considers pursuing him.
Thomas makes fun of his own pushiness, his need to text a new beau ten
times a day and of his desire to chase the men who reject him or delete him
He reveals that he wants a partner to be cute, that he visits gay saunas
four times a week (Is he exaggerating?) and that he likes older men.
His joyfulness and joking are tempered with distressing stories about
being bullied on the bus as a child, being rejected when a potential lover
first sees his disability and being mistaken for a drunk then beaten.
Thomas employs various devices to tell his story, including his Stage
Manager (Canada White) translating unclear dialogue for us, even when Thomas
insists that we’ll get the gist without her help.
He uses an electronic translator to convert his typed words to speech,
while his thoughts and Facebook posts appear as dialogue on an upstage screen.
Freeman’s direction keeps the play personal, amiable and simple as Thomas tells
tales of love lost and won then lost again.
In addition to audience members, White and an enthusiastic Auslan
interpreter (Lynn Gordon), a further character, Rodney (Lee Mason), joins
Thomas on stage or, more precisely, on screen.
Rodney’s counselling and interviewing techniques challenge Thomas’s choices,
motives and relationships while providing clarity for Thomas’s indistinct
In this very personal story, we join Thomas’s quest for a life with
meaning and his search for love in all the wrong places – a search with which
everyone, with or without disability, will identify.
By Kate Herbert
Performed by Thomas Banks
White – Stage Manager & Lorraine
Freeman – Director
Barry –Macauley - Dramaturg
Mason – Rodney (on video)
Performed by Thomas Banks
White – Stage Manager, Set Designer & Lorraine