Dance, Event

Melbourne Fringe Festival Review: Foreplay

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Originally written for Laneway Magazine

Foreplay
Corey Reynolds | Shannon Loughnane
Goodtime Studios
Sept 25-28, 2012

Performed in the dark and dingy Goodtime Studios, Foreplay is not for the faint-hearted. Set in present day Melbourne, the actors launch a devised exploration into the sex industry’s many facets. In this episodically structured, play-within-a-play piece, we experience short vignettes from the eight characters’ different perspectives on sex workers. It was obvious from the outset that this show was an educational experience for all members of the ensemble. Shannon Loughnane (Director), Corey Reynolds (Producer) and the actors alike had their work cut out for them in discovering the truth behind the modern day sex trade.

From a waiting room with excessive magazine consumption, to a café amongst the audience, this play clings to the elusive nature of the sex industry itself and attempts to re-create this on stage. Set in the round, the action is confronting from all sides. The set-design creations of Robert Smith were stellar. The symbolic sex-trade bed, emboldened with red lighting, was phenomenal.

However, the eclectic nature of combining both naturalism and post-modern theatre on stage was quite jarring for the audience members. Beautiful moments, such as a revelation between the playwright and a brothel worker, were made less meaningful as grating voice-overs took the place of action. The focus was drawn to the bed in the centre of the space, as the actors proceeded to use physical theatre elements by employing heightened, exaggerated or stagnant movements towards the bed. These moments were to embody the sex trade itself, but really only set a pace for raucous interjections in the naturalistic scenes. Yvette Turner (Charly) was a standout performance, her natural humour and ease in improvisation drawing many laughs.

Loughnane faced a challenging task in documenting the sex industry, perhaps an entirely naturalism play would have been more transcendent.

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