Baby Boomer Blues | Perth Theatre CompanyA typical household fight between a man/husband and a woman/wife that repeats itself every day as a recurrent condition is something generally unbearable to be witnessed. It doesn't matter who is right or wrong, or if you are the man, the woman or just a passive spectator such as a son or a daughter: it is still unbearable. Nevertheless, Theatre writers seem to love putting on stage this excruciating part of life, sometimes in a dramatic way (“Who's afraid of Virginia Wolf”, by Edward Albee), or as a comedy (“I love you, you're perfect, now change”, the musical by Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro, based on a book by the latter). Results are, however, usually better when the drama path is chosen. Baby Boomer Blues, directed and written by Alan Becher, being presented by the Perth Theatre Company at Downstairs at the Maj is a confirmation of all this. The play, about the journey baby-boomer Bob (Ian Toyne) and his third wife Carol (Michelle Fornasier) start for seeking fulfilment after Bob's business fails and Carol takes over the role of breadwinner, is centred on the endless fights between the couple, which makes it unbearable. Baby Boomer Blues is also only somewhat interesting in the ten minutes that it becomes a drama, than in the other one hour and 50 minutes, where it is supposed to be funny.

Ian Toyne and Michelle Fornasier are good comedians, he being better then her most of the time in this play, so I just have one person to blame for my disappointment: the director. Last week, I wrote in my review of “Honour” that it was not much more than a cliché. I'm afraid I have to repeat myself, and go further: Baby Boomer Blues is a massive compilation of clichés, most of them all of us heard at least a few times in a pub or café in the form of teasers (eg, “children should be seen, not heard” or “Pauline Hanson had the courage to say what she felt”). Well, the difference between hearing these statements as teasers in a pub, or in a place like Downstairs at the Maj, which may resemble a café, with wine, food and tea served during its gigs, but isn’t actually one, is that in a pub/café one can choose not be a part of the argument, and just turn around to start a new chat with some other mate about something else.

When the intermission came, after one hour of unbearable fights and distasteful clichés, I looked around to see the face of others in the public (mostly baby boomers themselves), to realize that I wasn't the only one which was dead bored. Watching how quickly the queue formed in the bar, it seemed everyone in the audience was more interested in getting a refill of wine and food than on what was showing on stage. Lucky for those who were able to make it to the bar on time, as nothing changed much after the intermission. Bob and Carol finally leave their apartment in Perth and go on a holiday trip to Thailand. But their fights, clichés and silly jokes go onboard with them and follow their adventures to the very end.

Baby Boomer Blues is not a play I would choose to see. But, still, it is a chance to see two good comedians on stage trying to defeat the odds and do their best, stealing a laugh here and there from the public. I'm pretty sure at least they had some fun, while I and the rest of the audience were left to simply enjoying a cosy place with good foods, drinks and service.


Perth Theatre Company presents
Baby Boomer Blues
by Alan Becher

Venue: Downstairs @ His Majesty's Theatre
Dates: 27 October – 17 November
Times: Monday - Thursday @ 7.30pm, Friday - Saturday @ 8.30pm
Tickets: Full $35 / Conc $25 / Groups 6+ $27
Bookings: BOCS 9484 1133
www.perththeatre.com.au

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