The show promises to be entertaining, insightful, witty, funny and surprising, but fails to meet its potential on most counts. The steps (and show) tell us nothing we didn’t know before, the songs are uninteresting and add very little to the performance in style, humour or content, the story is lack-lustre and the show is reasonably predictable.
It is a therapy session more than a dramatic presentation. There is no drama. A director friend once suggested a method for determining how engaging a piece of theatre is: take an imaginary gun and, in one’s mind, shoot the lead character about half way through the show. If they die and you actually care, the piece is succeeding. If they die and you couldn’t care less, the piece is less than engaging. Obviously, two people sitting in the same audience can have very different experiences of the same show, but the latter was certainly my experience sitting through Dr. Mandi’s self-unhelpful session.
The highlights were the multi-media presentation, including an appearance by one of Dr. Mandi’s clients, demonstrating the success of her techniques, and the accompaniment by Phillipe Klaus, an obvious great young talent.
As a performer, Jo is solid and, with a stronger script, has the potential to interest a wide audience, but she would have to allow her work to be heavily edited and, like so many Cabaret performers who devise their own material, she may well be reluctant to undertake such a process.
The Butterfly Club is a perfect venue for the show and is another example of how The Butterfly Club is providing a platform for these minimalist, Cabaret-style shows, devised by quality performers, who possess amazing potential.
Dr Mandi’s 9 Easy Steps to Romantic Bliss!
Venue: 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne
Dates: Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 June
Times: Thurs – Sat at 9.00 pm; Sunday at 8.00 pm
Tickets: $25 full / $20 concession and for groups of 8 or more
Duration: one hour approx
More info: www.myspace.com/joloth