A Play by Andrew Upton (Cate Blanchett's husband)
Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman
Someone has put a gun to the heads of the characters in Andrew Upton's new play. Unfortunately, no one pulled the trigger.
The most impressive feature of Saturday Night's performance at Sydney Theatre Company's Wharf 1 Theatre was the stage design - a gourmet kitchen and funky living space that I could quite easily transplant into my own home. The most compelling question I had at the end of the performance was "Where can I find those floorboards?".
The play centres around a once famous rock band 'Riflemind' now contemplating re-forming for a comeback tour, reliving the emotions of their rise and fall and pondering the future. Seems like an interesting topic, no?
Now I did try to like it - we even stayed after interval (unlike our more sensible theatre buddies) though The Frenchman did indicate to me his pain at numerous points through the second act, when he wasn't sleeping. There seemed to me to be some interesting questions posed in the first act about the value of celebrity, the impact of the associated hedonistic lifestyle and the closeting of sexuality. The second act seemed to stumble past these questions. We were blasted with deafeningly loud bursts of rock music and intermittent strobe effects which were as frighteningly unexpected as they were inappropriate and so many Fuck You's that even The Frenchman was mortified.
Hugo Weaving played a boomingly unconvincing John, lead guitarist / vocalist / songwriter / recovering everythingaholic, though I've got to admit he has quite a stage presence. At times it seemed the actors weren't quite sure what they were doing with their lines, and there was such a mix of accents that I didn't quite know where we were supposed to be, nor quite how we got there. Oh, and the sex scene was entirely unconvincing on so many levels.
Perhaps the aim of the play was to tell us that being famous is in fact a terrible thing that destroys people. But I never got the sense that these people were really likeable in the first place.
There are loads of stars in this production - but not a lot of glitter.
Now, where can I find the interior designer?