Sunday, 20 April 2014
On the Production of Monsters
Written by Liza Dezfouli   
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:11

On the Production of MonstersLeft – Virginia Gay and James Saunders. Photo – Jodie Hutchinson

Born of his frustration with the Bill Hensen artistic furore of several years ago, resolutely independent playwright Robert Reid's eagerly anticipated work, On the Production of Monsters, explores the effect of a story out of control and its effects on innocents. There is no doubting the playwright's position on the role played by the media in this nasty tale of prurience. An urban couple, Shari and Ben, articulate, bitchy and funny, in a convincing relationship, although they are both mavericks and she is inclined to erratic flights of fancy and behaviour. Bad luck visits Ben in the form of a misguided email from Ben's hilariously manipulative boss. In brief, the e-mail is unfortunately circulated to the wrong people; what follows conspires against the couple's cosy lifestyle and eventually costs them their relationship.

This MTC production, directed by Clare Watson, employs some nice staging and set devices, with the two actors playing all the roles and producing props from boxes set in the floor. The tone of the performance remains generally even, despite the drama of events, and so too, does the pacing of the scenes, which leads to a sense of the work being overlong. Strong performances from Virginia Gay and James Saunders, each playing a several different characters, bring an astringent script to life in a work which relishes in having a go at Melbourne's northern hipsters, even including Friends of the Merri Creek! Pacy dialogue is a signature of Reid's and he doesn't hold back here. Ben and Shari are a pair of annoying smartarses, though, and it is hard to sympathise with any of the other characters, either. 

The play is set in Northcote which almost features as an additional character; being so locale specific adds to the play's sense of claustrophobia and the characters' loss of privacy. Here, Reid is pointing out how common sense, amongst other things, flies out of the window when the media sacrifices accuracy to sensation. However, it is hard to imagine the good old Northcote leader as a major player in a media beat-up!   

Although engaging and witty and very nicely staged, there is something tiresome about the nastiness of On the Production of Monsters. Even though the characters are interesting and albeit somewhat self-consciously complex and articulate, none of them are especially likeable and the work is too cynical for words. On the Production of Monsters is an ambitious production which doesn't doesn't quite live up to expectations; it isn't a failure but nor is it a resounding success. It doesn't end properly, either, it just rolls to a halt in a truncated, unsatisfactory kind of manner.


On the Production of Monsters

Venue: The MTC Theatre, Lawler Studio
Dates: 23 May – 9 June 2012
Tickets: from $40; Under 30s just $25
Bookings: 03 8688 0800 | mtc.com.au


Pin It

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy
 
PozibleAustralian Stage JobsMembers Area
 

More 2014 Comedy Festival Reviews

Circus Under My Bed | Flying Fruit Fly Circus
The Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ latest Circus Under My Bed, part of the Melbourne...
Wake In Sleight | Reginald D Hunter
Maybe it's because Reginald D Hunter wants to be known as a man who needs no i...
Waiting For My Real Life... | Colin Hay
Hay must have been born under a lucky star which has enabled him with the gift...
Kraken | Don't Be Lonely and Theatre Beating
Kraken looks simple in its make-up, but it packs a mighty punch. One man, one...
Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas | The Axis of Awesome
Rocking their unique brand of musical comedy and gaining fans from around the...
Death in Bowengabbie
Much of the strength in this production lies with how vividly the characters a...
Like Me, Love Me, Retweet Me | Jordana Borensztajn
Borensztajn has warmth and charm, and she’s a confident and very likeable pres...
FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out | Zoe McDonald
What McDonald has created is a finely tuned performance where each intricate m...
Puppetry of The Penis Live
Making their grand entrance onto the stage, clad only in velvet superhero-like...
Fool's Gold | Frank Woodley
There are far worse things you could do with an hour or so of your life than w...
A Stupid Liar | Lawrence Mooney
With his latest show, he's not so much A Stupid Liar as he is brutally honest...
What Does the K Stand For? | Stephen K Amos
There are some artists that you can always count on to make you laugh, the cal...
Puppet Up: Uncensored | Henson Alternative
With multiple Muppets adorning the side of the stage like prizes to be won at...
When I Grow Up | Juliette Burton
By all means see your Steve Hugheses and your Julian Clareys and your Reginald...

Most Read MELBOURNE Reviews

Puppet Up: Uncensored | Henson Alternative
With multiple Muppets adorning the side of the stage like prizes to be won at a carnival, from the onset an audience knows...
What Does the K Stand For? | Stephen K Amos
There are some artists that you can always count on to make you laugh, the caliber of comedian that you can watch countless...
When I Grow Up | Juliette Burton
By all means see your Steve Hugheses and your Julian Clareys and your Reginald D Hunters, but do yourself a favour and chec...
A Stupid Liar | Lawrence Mooney
With his latest show, he's not so much A Stupid Liar as he is brutally honest about men, women and what really happens at a...
FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out | Zoe McDonald
What McDonald has created is a finely tuned performance where each intricate movement, tone and mannerism is explored and p...